1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My role is to assist the account managers with the day to day running of clients’ portfolios. I am given responsibility to communicate with insures and clients through phone conversations and emails. I carry out clients requests by enquiring with Insurers regarding credit limits. I also access reports and spreadsheets for colleagues from insurer’s online systems and manipulate them to make them presentable to go out to clients at meetings. I have also been out to client meetings with colleagues.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
Before I started working in my individual office I met the other apprentices who would be starting in different offices around the UK. We all attended a two week residential course in High Wycombe where we got to know each other and took party in lots of enjoyable team building exercises. This was a fantastic way to start my career as it eased me in to work and helped me to understand about Aon as a company and insurance as an industry. The Apprenticeship programme includes studying towards a professional insurance qualification called CII. Once a month the other eight Aon Apprentices and I, from different offices around the UK, meet up for a revision session in London to study with a tutor towards our exams. So far we have attended three out of the four sessions before our first exam. This exam is the first stage in the qualification process and is called IF1, which we will be sitting in March. Separate to the apprenticeship programme the manager of my department arranged another training course for me to go on with our biggest insurer. The purpose of this course was to gain an understanding what trade credit insurance is and the different policies this insurer offer. This was a day session in Canary Warf London which was a fantastic experience for me, which I thoroughly enjoyed and also made me much more knowledgeable in my individual field. I started on the Apprenticeship programme I have learnt communication skills to come across informed and professional when talking to my colleagues and on the phone to insurers and clients. I have also developed business writing skills to make my external emails professional. I have grown more confident and learnt how to display my own personal brand that I want to portray through eye contact, body language and voice projection.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I am really enjoying the Apprenticeship programme so far. The programme is a fantastic opportunity for me to build a successful career and I find the Insurance industry very interesting. I have been given lots of responsibilities in the short time I’ve been here that I didn't expect to have and I have surprised myself in how much I have already achieved and how much I know. I feel a great sense of pride in what I do, especially when I am praised by my colleagues. I feel extremely lucky that I have fallen into an industry I find really interesting. I enjoy going in to work every day and the days go very fast when I’m there. I enjoy learning new things every day about insurance, which gives me the opportunity to become more experienced and gain more responsibilities which aids me to develop myself as a person further.
4. How valued do you feel by Aon?
I feel valued by my colleagues in my office and treated as an equal despite my lack of experience. I think this has been showed by the big responsibilities I have already been given. All the apprentices have been given opportunities to attend different events, for example I attended a young broker event in Birmingham which gave me opportunity to network with others in the insurance industry and share experiences. I have also felt valued by Aon when asked to come along to an apprenticeship recruitment event pitched to potential 2015 employees where I was asked to prepare a talk about my experience so far in the job. The only negative I have is that in my opinion the apprentices in London have been given greater opportunities in some circumstances than the regional apprentices.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The programme is fantastically organised and structured. The induction and following training in London I have previously talked about have been organised very well and have been extremely helpful. All the apprentices have been given lots of support by the recruitment team in our qualification and job role. The programme has been well communicated from the start and everything is organised well months in advance so we always kept up to date with what will be happening. This is an area I believe Aon’s programme really excels.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
The Training provider has given lots of support to the apprentices. We have had revision sessions in London towards our qualification where a clear informed tutor leads a discussion. This tutor provides us with helpful power points to read through before the sessions, so we already have understanding of the modules before we go. This means the tutor can help fill in the gaps in our knowledge and make sure we all understand the topics, which I think is a very effective way of tackling the revision and make the information easier to remember. We are also set example questions from past papers after each session to be completed before the next session, which helps imbed the information further and apply it to the real exam we will eventually be sitting.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I am very happy with my starting salary and don't believe I could expect much more considering the qualification I am being funded towards and my previous experience. It is a very good starting salary and means I have lots of disposable income whilst I am living at home. I can begin to save whilst covering transport and daily costs and enjoy some luxuries.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
I am very happy with my salary and believe it's all that can be expected considering my experience and the qualification I am being funded towards. It covers all my needs and means I have lots of disposable income whilst living at home. This means I am able to start saving towards my future and afford some luxuries.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
I have had quite a few opportunities outside of work. I have recently started playing 5 a side football once a week with some of my colleagues and the cost of hiring the pitch is covered by Aon. On the professional side I have had lots of networking opportunities with external sources such as insurers. I have also attending business expos where I have the opportunity to speed network with many people in different businesses and obtain their business cards. This all develops my confidence and improves my mannerisms. I also enjoyed getting to know my colleagues at our office Christmas party and through occasional lunches out together. I am happy with my balance between work and leisure and I get opportunity to partake in all my hobbies.
9. Would you recommend Aon to a friend?
I believe it is a fantastic company to work for, who really want you to achieve and progress. I am very proud I managed to get on to the Aon apprenticeship programme and now feel like I have a great opportunity for promotion and to build a successful career through Aon.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Aon?
I would advise to apply early and take your time over the application. Perfect your CV and answer all the questions in full providing lots of detail and examples. Don't complete the application in one sitting, go away and think about your answers and add to them to make your application stand out and be strong. If you get through to an assessment centre think about how you’re coming across and how you want to portray yourself. Come across confident even if you are really not, don’t let it show! Contribute as much as you can to group activities so you stand out, but don’t be over powering. In the interview come across friendly and passionate but make sure you've done your research and prepare so you're ready for any questions they might ask.
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