1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My job title is Aon Apprentice My daily tasks include general administration tasks such as updating GRIP, doing invoices and helping CSA’s complete tasks for clients. Tasks for clients may include day to day queries about their insurance program or assisting with collecting documents from insurers. Other jobs that I often do involve using spreadsheets to produce graphs or analyse claims information. I often talk to, and work with CSA’s managers and directors that work in my office. This can be about tasks that I will be completing for them or what is going on in the business. In terms of interactions externally, these aren’t as regular but I have had a number of opportunities to meet insures and clients.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have recently passed my first insurance exam and I'm fully on track to achieving my insurance certificate soon. There are many internal training courses that I have been to and have access to. The first are Aon's own internal CSA diploma courses which I have been encouraged to attend to further my insurance knowledge. Other training courses include one on getting the best out of Excel and regulatory training. I have also completed all my required learning modules that cover a wide range of different topics that I had to complete upon starting with Aon. External training has included trips down to London where we receive training towards our insurance exams. I have learnt to be mature and more respectful of everyone that I work with day to day. I have also learnt to manage my workload and make sure that I'm organised enough to know which tasks need doing and when.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I thoroughly enjoy the programme that I'm doing. I chose to do this apprenticeship instead of University because I find it much easier to learn on the job rather than sitting in a lecture room and being taught. I am very lucky in that the office that I joined in Aon has recently recruited a number of new people, a number of whom are younger than previous employees. I think that this has made my transition from college to work much easier and everyone in my team has been very welcoming and supportive. The company culture is very good. They want to nurture and support youth development so therefore starting out as an apprentice is fantastic.
4. How valued do you feel by Aon?
I feel very valued at work. My manager regularly shows her appreciation for my work as do the CSA's or any other members of my team that I help. I have recently been awarded an Aon Star which is internal recognition for doing something well. The reason for my award was that I was asked to overhaul and sort out the filing cupboard at work, which I completed and my manager was very happy with. I also feel very valued because of the support and training I'm given. I get training towards my insurance exams but in conjunction with that Aon pay for my travel and accommodation. They also present me with many opportunities to help me progress and learn.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The induction involved a two week stay at a conference centre where we learnt about ourselves, Aon and how to conduct our behaviour in the office. I felt that these initial two weeks really set us up and got us ready to start work in an office environment. It included how to meet and greet people and how to be confident which having come straight from college, I found very useful. The only thing missing was actual information about what we would be doing in our job. The only negative I can think of about the programme is that communication from the organisers is at times slow and there have been times where I and my fellow apprentices have felt a little in the dark regarding information and organisation of dates and events.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
The training provider that we have used is skilled solutions. They have been excellent and really did help me to pass my first insurance exam. The support was really easy to access as we had a website and the tutor was always available to answer questions. The attitude towards our support was great and she injected lots of energy into our training sessions which really helped when they started to feel like they were dragging a little. I really enjoyed the sessions and learning more about insurance.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I receive large support from my employer. Aon are extremely committed to the apprenticeship scheme and there is large interest and support in the scheme from many senior figures in the business. The HR team were particularly good when we had the 2 week induction as they organised it and helped us.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
My living costs are relatively low as I still live at home with my parents, although I certainly couldn't afford to move out yet as my wage wouldn't cover my costs. My travel costs are the highest and worst. I commute on the train each day to work and this costs me a big chunk of my wage. Daily costs and social costs are fine and I feel that I manage these well. Before I started I was well aware of how much it would cost me to commute to work, so it came as no surprise. However there isn't much support for travel costs especially compared to discounts available to students compared to apprentices.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are a good number of events that take place outside of work. Upcoming we have a team building day that will be held out of the office which I'm looking forward to. We also have been to an insurer lunch where we got the opportunity to meet the insurers that we deal with day to day over the phone. Recently we also had a team meal where everyone in my team went out for tea after work.
9. Would you recommend Aon to a friend?
This is a fantastic opportunity. We are offered loads of support towards everything we do like training and our day to day jobs. Some people may think that apprentices are looked upon as being too young or overshadowed, but there is nothing like that at Aon. There is a big fuss made over apprentices in Aon, even the CEO wanted to speak to me and find out more about my job and experiences. There are lots of opportunities for the future in Aon so we are able to be ambitious and aim high.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Aon?
When going through the application process, the best piece of advice is to be yourself. I would also say don't be phased if you are competing for the job against older, or more experienced, or in your own opinion cleverer applicants, because the main thing Aon look for is personality and someone who can conduct themselves and be comfortable meeting clients in the future and carry the Aon brand.