Izzy Minor is a trainee paralegal at GRENKE, a multinational finance company specialising in lease agreements. She started studying CPQ Foundation stage in July 2021.
Why did you decide that CPQ was the right qualification for you?
I’d done an A level in Law and really enjoyed it, which is when I found out about CILEX. I thought I’d like to explore whether a career in law would be right for me, plus I didn’t want the expense of going to university, that was a really big factor for me.
Also CILEX has a great reputation and is really well respected. I’m actually quite proud when I tell people I’m studying for a CILEX qualification because they’ve heard of them – it means something.
How are you funding your study?
My employer, GRENKE, is funding the course – they’ve been brilliant. I completed an apprenticeship in business administration with them and when I said I wanted to do this they were very supportive. It’s also attractive that this course will not only improve my legal skills, but it will also improve my performance in my current role.
How do you study?
It’s all online so far. All the course books are available through an online library, so when I’m studying, I have a study pack on one side of the screen and the textbook open on the other. I have two textbooks, but I actually prefer learning online - I have quite a small desk and the books are huge so it's not very practical. I can make notes, add stickies and highlight sections in the online books so this really works for me.
How are you managing studying alongside working?
So far, it’s going really well. It helps that I’ve already done an apprenticeship, so I have some experience of studying alongside working. I was careful to agree with my line manager exactly how much time she was happy for me to spend studying during the week. I do about an hour a day during working time, usually at the start of the day, and another two to four hours in my own time, mostly on a Sunday evening. I still have plenty of time for a social life if that’s what you’re asking!
Is what you are learning immediately useful?
Yes definitely. I’m currently doing the Contract Law module and that’s directly relevant to my work, which is all about contracts. There’s only so much content I can use because I’m not working in a law firm but it’s definitely helping me to understand the process better, especially from the external solicitor’s perspective, and to contribute more.
I also found the Successful Study module really useful. It helped me with time management and with techniques to lock in my learning. I think people who haven’t studied for a few years would find that very beneficial.
How is CILEX Law School helping you with your study?
I was introduced to my Learning and Development Advisor very early on and I speak to her every month or so. We go over what I’ve been doing and whether I need any extra assistance or have any questions. So I have that direct contact, which is great, and the website is really easy to use for finding course materials and activities to support my learning. There are also monthly webinars – I’m signed up for one later today on contract law. And we have a community page within the CLS hub where students can post questions – it’s mostly been admin-type questions so far but it’s great to have that facility.
What do you know about your fellow students?
We all shared information about ourselves during the induction and it looks like we’re quite a mix – some like me in their early 20s, others who are teenagers straight out of school, but there are also people with children and some who’ve been working in the legal sector for 20-odd years.
What’s your time frame for completing CPQ Foundation stage?
I started in July 2021 and I expect to finish by next July. My Law A level means that I won’t need to take the Tort and Legal Systems modules so that will save me some time.
What's your advice for anyone thinking of training with CPQ?
I think you need to be committed to learning. It is a manageable amount of work but it’s also a commitment and you need to be prepared for that. And then once you’ve started, throw yourself into it. I wish I’d signed up for more webinars earlier.
Would you recommend CPQ to other people?
Yes, absolutely. In fact, I recommended it to one of my colleagues who has a Law degree and is therefore eligible to bypass the Foundation stage that I’m doing and go straight in at CPQ Advanced.
What are your plans for when you complete CPQ Foundation stage?
I’ve already looked at the other stages of CPQ and, assuming I continue to enjoy studying, I’m planning on continuing right through to becoming a CILEX Lawyer. That’s the plan, for now at least. I’m also starting to think about which area of law I’d like to specialise in. Luckily, most of the legal areas that interest me are available to study via the CPQ route.