1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My role as an actuarial apprenticeship involves mainly lots of calculations. I sit within the corporate advice team. This job is quite well suited to me as maths interests me and it's one of my stronger subjects. I prepare lots of calculations for clients which once checked gets sent to them to help with their pension scheme. I work within a few different client teams meaning I get to interact with a variety of people and do a range of different work. Sometimes I do excel modelling, sometimes just hand calculations and sometimes I write reports. I am responsible for managing the member queries on a few of my clients and also for deriving the monthly accounting assumptions we produce internally for client teams to use with their clients. I have been involved in a few different corporate projects which although are time consuming, are more rewarding as I get to follow my work through and see the end result.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have learnt lots of new skills, mainly about professionalism and business awareness. Until I started at AON I had never worked in an office before or done any business lessons, so everything was completely new to me. I have also developed my exisiting team work skills and time management skills, as sometimes I get lots of work all at once and I have to decide what is more important. I also get the opportunity to attend networking events and develop my people skills which I enjoy a lot.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
The programme has opened up lots of opportunities for me, I am given the same opportunities to progress throughout my career as if I was a graduate which is great. I enjoy the social side of working for a large business and I think this is a much better way of entering the industry than going to university is. Some of the apprenticeship work is a bit time consuming but it is all a step up to help us bridge the gap between leaving school and leaving uni and make the transition easier.
4. How valued do you feel by Aon?
Aon make me feel very valued as a colleague. I get the same opportunities to progress through my career, with exams and such, as if I had been to uni. Everyone in my office was very welcoming and friendly and always interested in what I am doing as my apprenticeship. My manager is always willing to sit and go through what I can do to help me develop which makes me feel valued and like Aon want me to develop and progress. I feel they value apprentices the same as graduates (only they understand we have less experience/knowledge of the industry) which is really good.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
So far it has been really well organised and structured. Originally though we were told our first exam would be June which suddenly moved to April, but this was no fault of the apprenticship coordinators. My mentor is really encouraging and always gives me targets and deadlines to help me progress through my apprenticeship programme. When we first started as apprentices we were given a timeline of events when we were expected to complete different sections of our qualificiation, this is very beneficial as we get to see an end point and have something to work towards.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
My training provider gives us lots of support. My personal mentor is really encouraging and supportive and gives me lots of advice and guidance on what I need to do and what I should be aiming towards. The training providers in general are great, they're always willing to reply to my emails and answer any questions I have. We had a tutor for our exam and she was great too, very good at teaching and helped me a lot with some of the topics I was struggling with.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
My employer also gives me lots of support. My manager is always willing to sit and talk to me about what I am finding difficult or what I enjoy and would like to do more of, she is always willing to help me devise solutions and find new opportunities for me. Also when I first started I was given a buddy, this was great as she helped me to settle in to working life at Aon loads, shes given me so much help and is always there to answer my silly little questions. She also helped me get involved lots with office socials which I thoroughly enjoy.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
Well this is my first full time job so I didn't really know what to expect but I feel I get paid a good wage for what I do. Although, I don't understand why I don't get paid the same wage as the London apprentices who get slightly more, when I work in St Albans, where it is equally as expensive to live. From talking to friends doing apprenticeships I think I get paid well over the national average for an apprentice, so I am pretty pleased. At the end of the day, Im earning tonnes more than if I was doing the same thing at uni and I am getting into no debt.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
Yes, there are lots of networking opportunities and opportunities to represent the company at events. We lack a bit in social events I feel though.
9a. Would you recommend Aon to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
Because it is a great place to work with lots of career opportunities. I have had a brilliant experience of working for Aon and have been made to feel very welcome since I started.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Aon? *
Its tough but it's worth it.
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