6 min read

Graduate Mentoring
is Law-some Success

Graduate mentoring and work experience are a key aspect of many of the University’s degrees – none more so than those in our Law School. We spoke to two alumni, now working for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) about their studies, ensuing career path, and giving something back to the next generation.

The Crown Prosecution Service is an independent body that prosecutes criminal cases that have been investigated by the police and other investigative organisations in England and Wales.

Sean Kyne, 46, deputy chief crown prosecutor at the CPS, graduated in 1998 with a degree in law, and now regularly visits our Law School to talk to students about his career path and the employment opportunities available at the CPS.

“What I really liked about the University was that it was very practical focused, offering real-life scenarios and the lecturers are practitioners with the learning based around their real-world experience. It was a long way from home but I’m still here, I love the region and the University was a massive part of that.

“Deciding if someone enters the criminal justice system is serious and has implications on a lot of things, it carries great responsibility but with that comes reward and keeping the community and the public safe is a real driver.

When I talk to students I stress that no two cases are ever the same but the decisions you make have life-changing implications. There’s no better feeling than delivering justice.

"Anyone can do this, it’s really possible for everyone."

Sean started his career at the CPS at Crown Prosecution level and 20 years later is still working for the company. He said: “I’ve really enjoyed talking to students like Jessica about my career path and numbers on the work experience programme started to go up. Now, when I’m at work, I recognise some of the students I’ve spoken to. Students are very engaged, bright, focused and honest and it’s important to remember that they are future jurors, victims, and witnesses. Before I know it, I’m working alongside some of them and it’s amazing to give something back.

“Work experience gives students a sense of real advocacy and they get the chance to get their hands dirty, they are faced with a fake case with twists and turns, just like in the real world in the real job, and this gives them an idea of what the job will be like – it’s not for everyone. It’s very much mutually beneficial for both parties."

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.

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 to something different – it could be a robbery, or 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 Prosecution 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.

Sean concludes: “Crime doesn’t stay the same, it evolves, the face of crime changes, fraud is changing, we’ve got cybercrime, so our new candidates have a different take on the world especially in relation to technology and that’s a positive and keeps the CPS relevant.

“Working for the CPS allows you to make a difference personally every day. We’re working for people, not for big clients, and for University students, it’s a really important message that law isn’t just about making money, it’s about giving something back to your communities.”

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At the University of Wolverhampton, we’re only as strong as our staff, students, and amazing alumni – that means you! There’s no better way to support us and our students than by volunteering.

Speaking at a recruitment day, helping at an event, organising a reunion, writing an inspiring case study, or even becoming a mentor, your efforts can hugely benefit our future alumni. Use the QR code below to find out more.

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