1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My role as an investment analyst involves drafting reports, papers and strategic advice for a range of UK pension schemes. My role is very client service focused and very much focused around working with a pension scheme to achieve its objectives, both short and long term. Short term objectives could include cashflow management, whilst a long term objective could be achieving full funding to guarantee member benefits. Day to day, I am usually drafting work for more senior colleagues to check and review.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
Many! I have learnt how to more effectively manage my workflow to ensure that all tasks I have been assigned to are completed in good time. I have developed my communication skills and feel increasingly confident talking to my clients. I have also started to develop a technical investment understanding which has boosted my day to day confidence. I have also learnt how to manage the demands of working and studying for professional qualifications at the same time.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I very much enjoy my programme because it challenges me. When I first started, I was concerned I would not have the opportunity to get involved with the highest levels of work, fearing that as an apprentice I would only be given administrative tasks. This however, was definitely not the case! Once I had demonstrated an understanding of the basics and nailed the basic tasks, I was trusted to take challenging pieces of work for my clients.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
On the whole it is well organised. I am on a clear development programme and I am aware of the development journey I will follow. Given that I am in the first cohort of apprentices on this specific programme, Aon has organised it well and has the right support in place. Many of the people I work with however do not understand the structure of my programme and the demands I must meet, but I would expect this understaning to develop as more apprentices complete what is currently an entirely new programme to the business.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I receive a good amount of support from Aon, including allocated study leave, training courses, mentoring sessions and regular feedback from my colleagues and my line manager. I am set realistic and achievable goals to develop my skills and these are well-monitored by my line manager. My colleagues are also always happy to teach me new things and get me involved with a range of opportunities. Aon also has a range of impartial services which employees can contact if they need assistance with issues such as mental health, parenthood, gender equality and diversity. Overall, I think the support Aon invests in for its colleagues is second to none.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
The training provider assigned a Talent Coach to me who is my go-to contact for any matter I need assistance with. The relationship is relatively informal which I think means I receive better support. My Talent Coach is often very light touch and only contactes me when required, which I appreciate. My Talent Coach however is not an investment expert, but this is not normally a problem as they assist with the 'softer' professional skills associated with my work.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
My programme involves completing a benchmark exam which all investment professionals are required to pass to become authorised to give investment advice. I think this aspect is very useful. I am also required to submit a portfolio of work to pass the apprenticeship. Whilst this is good for reflecting on the work I have done, I wouldn't say that I have furthered in my role in completing the work portfolio.
8. Are there extra-curricular activities to get involved in at your work? (For example, any social activities, sports teams, or even professional networking events.)
There are many to choose from! We have a social team who arrange regular office social events. WIthin my individual team, we regularly arrange sport activities, such as five a side. Colleagues can access all sorts of events easily which means that colleagues can have lots of fun outside of work, which makes networking easy.
9a. Would you recommend Aon to a friend?
Aon invests in every single colleague and supports their personal development. The line managers are extremely skilled in getting the best from their delegates, and a wide range of opportunities are available to all regardless of how developed their career is. Aon will support you in achieving what you want to achieve as a professional, rather than what they want you to achieve.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Aon?
Really show off your people skills and your willingness to learn! On my apprenticeship programme, candidates are not expected to have a huge technical understanding, but should instead show the right professional skills and a desire to develop. I would also apply very early, because the selection process for apprentices is quite long so applications close much earlier than you would expect.
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