Graduate mentoring scheme is judged a real success for law degree students
A University of Wolverhampton graduate mentoring and work experience scheme has been judged a real success by two alumni who work for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
Sean Kyne, 46, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor at the CPS, graduated in 1998 with a Law Degree from the University of Wolverhampton Law School and now regularly visits the School to talk to Law students about his career path and the employment opportunities available at the CPS.
Recent graduate, Jessica Bisla, now a Trainee Solicitor at the CPS, heard Sean talk about the work experience opportunities available and was so inspired by his personal and professional career journey that she was one of three students to secure a work experience placement – and she’s never looked back.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is an independent body that prosecutes criminal cases that have been investigated by the police and other investigative organisations in England and Wales.
Jessica, 23 from Claregate in Wolverhampton, graduated in 2021, secured a full-time job at the CPS in the Magistrates Court Unit and has also been back to the University to talk to students about her own career journey.
She said: “My world opened up when I secured a work experience placement at the CPS after hearing Sean talk about his career journey. Suddenly the world becomes bigger than the classroom and it made me think carefully about the things I didn’t want to do in the legal profession. I started out by being driven towards more corporate law, working for big companies, but after getting a first-hand glimpse of the work that the CPS does, I knew that I wanted to make more of a difference to my community because criminal law is impactful and it affects all of our day-to-day lives.
“Students should get more chance to sit in courts and get practical experience. Every day you wake up you do something different - it could be a robbery or it could be an assault. The job isn’t boring. It’s not repetitive.
“I remember one of Sean’s talks. He had a huge impact on me, he started at Crown Prosecutor level and worked his way up and he showed us that the world is your oyster and there are progression opportunities available.
“During my work experience I shadowed at Magistrates’ Court and Crown Court, we watched part of a murder trial, seeing the barristers with their wigs on, people’s families, soaking up the atmosphere and that really showed me how important the CPS is and what role it plays.
“Anyone can do this, it’s really possible for everyone.”
Sean, 46 from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, said: “What I really liked about the University was that the lectures were very focused around practical aspects of the subject. The lecturers offered real-life examples from their own professional careers and the lecturers focused the learning around their real-world experience which really brought the subjects to life for me. I arrived a long way from home but I’m still here. I love the region and my experience at the University played a massive part in me setting up home here on qualification.
“Deciding if someone enters the Criminal Justice System is a very serious decision and has implications for everyone concerned be it the victim, the defendant, those close to them or society as a whole. Our prosecutors carry that great responsibility every day but with that responsibility comes great career satisfaction. Knowing we play our part in keeping our communities safe is incredibly rewarding.
“When I talk to students, I stress that no two cases are ever the same and the decisions prosecutors make can have life changing implications. We work on some very serious and important cases but there’s no better feeling than delivering justice.”
Sean started his career at the CPS as a Crown Prosecutor and 20 years later is now Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor for the West Midlands. He said: “I’ve really enjoyed talking to students like Jessica about my career path and the number of students accessing our work experience programme has increased to the many hundreds. The students are highly engaged, bright and focused. Now, when I’m in the office, I recognise some of the students I’ve spoken to, and it is good to know that more will join us in the future.
“Our work experience programme gives students a real sense of what the role of a prosecutor involves. They will get the chance to apply their minds to criminal evidence and procedure faced with a real-life case with all the twists and turns that these can bring. It really gives them an idea of what the job will be like. I would highly recommend it to anyone who has an interest in our work.
“Crime doesn’t stay the same, it constantly evolves, as criminals find new ways to commit new or existing offences and our job is to move with those changes proactively. Our new prosecutors have a particularly important role to play in this. Their take on the world and society is a real positive for the Service.’’
David Wedge, Alumni Manager at the University, said: “The University’s Alumni & Development Office works to build lifelong relationships with graduates through a global community of 140,000 alumni from 130 countries worldwide.
“Alumni can access a range of opportunities, benefits and services, including a range of discounts, career support, mentoring, the opportunity to join social and professional networks, assistance in organising reunions and contacting classmates.
“We are extremely proud of the support Sean and Jessica continue to offer the University and we’re delighted to see the impact that their support and work experience scheme has had, which is benefiting both our current students and the CPS as a business. In addition, there is an extensive volunteer programme and numerous charitable donation opportunities, allowing graduates and supporters to give back through time, expertise and money, to support current students, the University and communities around the world.”
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