Alumni Stories – Hannah Wylam


This series of posts looks at what our former students do after they graduate in History at the University of Gloucestershire. It demonstrates the various types of employment and further study they can go into. It provides useful guides for existing students, but also highlights the fascinating journeys of our graduates. The next story comes from Hannah Wylam (Class of 2016).

After graduating in 2016, I had always planned to apply for the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL).  Before university, I remember reading somewhere that law firms preferred “traditional subjects” over law degrees (I’m still not sure if this is true). I therefore chose to study History given that it was a subject that I’d always loved. However, it has also prepared me in ways I never quite expected throughout my career.

At the end of my degree, I decided I wasn’t quite ready to jump into the GDL and I needed to take a break from education.  I travelled around the west coast of America over the summer which included a very insightful trip to the Museum of Natural History in L.A.

Shortly after returning from America, I started working at a high street law firm.  Being in a legal environment every day reassured me that it was what I wanted to do, so I started to work my way up. I was able to work across a few departments at the firm, giving me exposure to several areas of law. I eventually fell in love with employment law and that’s when I decided it was time to start hitting the books again.  I realised at that point that the GDL wasn’t the only route I could take and I didn’t need to quit my job and go back to full time study either. Instead, I joined the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) in 2018 which allowed me to study in my own time while maintaining a full time job.

Hannah’s pictures from her trip to the USA.

My time at the University of Gloucestershire really prepared me for my CILEx qualification, all of those late nights studying at FCH came flooding back to me as a I spent my evenings sat at my desk reading up on contract law and civil procedure rules, albeit I’ve now swapped kermits for coffee!

Studying History has also helped me throughout my career so far.  Law isn’t always black and white and my degree gave me the ability to read between the lines and draw my own interpretations and opinions from the evidence in front of me, this is a skill I now use almost daily.

In 2020 I became an Associate member of CILEx and I’m now working as a Paralegal. I provide legal assistance in relation to employment law and civil litigation as well corporate and commercial matters. I’m also continuing with the next stage of my studies and aiming to qualify as a Fellow in 2024, at which point I’ll finally be a fully qualified lawyer!

Hannah (second from the left) with some of her classmates from 2016.

The skills I learned at the University of Gloucestershire have been vital in developing my career, not just through being able to structure an argument, but also persevering and learning to look at things from a new perspective if they don’t quite go to plan – there’s always another way.

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