A personal blog from Hannah – I started working for Legal Services in 2008 as a full-time legal assistant in the real estate team, while studying part-time for my CILEX qualifications. The board has always supported my studies, helping with expenses and allowing me to work flexibly to accommodate my studies after periods of maternity leave. I was able to train “on the job” and I acquired a wealth of experience, adjusting my studies to my increasingly busy family life.
From the start of my term on the Board, I was impressed by the level of trust that was granted to me. I was expected to work as a junior employee rather than follow and help another colleague. I was given day-to-day responsibility for specific areas of work from day one and encouraged to take on other areas of work as my confidence grew. Sometimes it could be daunting, but colleagues were always there to answer any questions I had, and I received all the resources and outside training I needed to expand my knowledge base as my area of practice grew. stretched out.
Over time, I became particularly interested in the council’s role as a road authority and was supported in developing my expertise and experience in this area. Since completing my CLEX studies, I have been appointed to an attorney position on the regulatory team which encompasses a wide range of work including highways, planning and environmental matters. Variety makes work interesting and challenging, so my area of practice continues to grow. I have the opportunity to work with colleagues from various departments, as well as elected members and have been able to build internal and external relationships.
Dorset Council has always offered flexible working and continues to expand the options available to employees. They understand that there is no one-size-fits-all solution and strive to support employees as their needs evolve. I have been supported through three maternity leaves and returns to work and the flexibility of my work schedule means I can enjoy a great work/life balance. When lockdown was imposed and schools were closed, senior management was understanding and realistic about the challenges facing parents and the support I received while homeschooling three young children was exemplary.
Dorset is a fantastic place to live and work and I take great satisfaction in supporting the county and its communities through my work, whether it is extending our network of rights of way across our beautiful countryside or working with developers on a major new real estate development. Consulting offers the freedom to take on interesting and complex work with a mix of clients and I learn something new every day. I have always felt at home within the legal team and “grow” with my colleagues celebrating my marriage and the founding of my family. This “one team” approach is felt throughout, and I can’t wait to get back to the office for some long-awaited catch-up with colleagues I haven’t seen in person for a while.