1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I’m currently based in Retirement and Investment at Aon Hewitt, and I work in the pension consultancy part of Aon where my job carries a number of responsibilities. It can range from hosting calls with pension scheme administrators, to interacting with the pensions managers to make sure that schemes are being run properly. As I develop more in my job role, so do my responsibilities. In the future I expect to be getting more directly involved with the clients my company serves, something that I am particularly looking forward to.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
So far I have gained many skills through the Aon Apprenticeship but what I have developed the most are relevant business skills, notably skills in computing and writing professionally, and in attending meetings and corresponding with colleagues. In addition my knowledge of the Retirement and Investment industry has undeniably increased. I know that everything I've picked up so far will be useful experience for me in any business career.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I thoroughly enjoy my program. It's clear that Aon puts a lot of effort and attention to detail in its award winning Apprenticeship Scheme. I love the culture within the company, as Aon puts a large focus on employee health - both mental and physical - and wellbeing, and puts in place the necessary opportunities to allow employees to progress and flourish. Concerning the work, I look forward to what the future holds with regards to the kind of work I'll be getting involved in and appreciate that the current work - primarily administrative work - I am doing will allow me to develop the necessary skills and experience to succeed in the business. Joining the office was daunting at first but with help from the people I work with I have started to get to grips with the work and language used in the office.
4. How valued do you feel by Aon?
I have felt thoroughly valued so far. It's clear that Aon values its Apprentices highly. Apprentices are treated just like any other employee within Aon and are given the same benefits as well as the same treatment. The team I'm stationed in within my office is warm and welcoming, supportive, hardworking yet sociable, and an overall excellent team to start in within the company. In addition my manager and buddy, whom I work the closest with, both value and respect me, and are always making sure I know what I am doing and that I am content with my work.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
My program, whilst relatively new, is very well structured. My experience at Aon began last September with a one-and-a-half-week introductory residential course which effectively taught us the ins and outs of working in a business environment and more specifically working at Aon. Since I started working in St Albans back in October, I began working closely with my buddy and less so my manager, who both helped me get everything set up and begin working. I have been receiving support concerning my study from the Skills Company, and varied and in-depth training from Aon itself. The team I work in, whilst organised in a hierarchical structure, is open and free flowing. I often discuss and share work with all kinds of different colleagues of mine, all in different positions within the company, and the relationship between junior and senior colleagues is comfortable and friendly as a result.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
I receive a suitable amount of support from my training provider. The Skills Company has run through my upcoming exams with me and has given me necessary training material, as well as help with various tasks directly relating to my Apprenticeship itself (not the work I do within the office). I am however expected to revise for my exams independently, and go through the majority of external tasks independently with my provider marking said work. This however I believe is good since it encourages independence and time management.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I recieve a large amount of support from my employer when it comes to work within the office. My manager, among other colleagues are always at hand to help me with any work that's been set for me, and there are various groups of people within my office, such as the secretaries, who are warm and supportive. Again I often have to complete and organise my work of my own accord, which is a drastic change from secondary school, but again I feel like it benefits me since it develops my time management and prioritisation skills.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
I am very satisfied with my current salary and benefits, they are significantly better than any job I have had in the past and given the fact that I'm earning qualifications in the process, I can't really complain! Moreover, my office is based in St Albans - where I live! So travelling into work every morning is convenient for me; given how many offices Aon has stationed across the UK, I can imagine future Apprenticeship candidates will be able to find an office near them. Concerning extra costs, travel expenses are often dealt with when I travel into places away from the office, and food and drink is usually provided in these situations. The only real extra costs come with socials; whilst some socials are funded by the company itself, the majority require you to pay yourself. However I don't have a problem with this, since they allow me to bond with my colleagues and provide me with great networking opportunities.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are always opportunities outside of work available, be these external projects, presentations or careers fairs, or even recreational activities such as yoga or football, as well as the opportunity to gain discounts at various gyms and leisure centres. I would definitely recommend volunteering for as much as possible, especially in opportunities such as careers fairs, since they will allow you to make a name for yourself in the business, and show to your manager and other colleagues that you go the extra mile, encouraging respect and likeability.
9a. Would you recommend Aon to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
If you are interested in business, then definitely consider applying. Aon is one of the world's most successful professional services companies and any early career with Aon will enable you to kick-start your career. Personally I wanted a career within a large business with the potential to interact with others. When I came across the award-winning Aon Apprenticeship Programme in consulting it seemed like a perfect fit and an ideal alternative to university; business consulting is a career path that has always interested me, however in the past such a career had always required a degree. Another catalyst in my decision to join Aon was the level of structure that had been put in place to facilitate the growth and development of the people on the Programme.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Aon? *
The programme is competitive, so even if you aren't sure about things, apply! The sooner you apply the better, since you'll have a greater chance of being accepted. When you join, be sure to find those with a wealth of experience and ask questions; ask lots of questions. Building up your knowledge in any area of your industry will always help you out.
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