In this issue's blog, Oliver Swinburn looks at how he got into the insurance sector in the first place
Firstly, thank you to all who read my debut Journal blog last issue, hopefully many of you have pressed on with assignments and had successful exam sittings since.
Once again, I am sat in front of my laptop taking another well-earned break from studying my latest module towards my ACII qualification -- well that is certainly what I tell myself! With National Apprenticeship Week happening recently, it seems relevant to discuss how I got into insurance and the opportunities that there are for young and developing brokers.
It was London 2012 and almost everyone had their eyes on the Olympics, but oh no, not me (okay, I did watch a fair bit). For me, it was a summer of work ahead and I was lucky to find myself a short internship at a Lloyd's syndicate, which helped me understand what it was like to work in insurance. From then on I never looked back and, having recently completed a graduate programme with my company, I can reflect on some great learning experiences with insurer partners.
University isn't for everyone and apprenticeships offer a great deal, with a chance to gain fantastic work experience while improving your knowledge. Apprenticeships are really valued within my company, with dedicated programmes to give individuals the best support and help in their development. We have even had a winner of the Warwickshire Apprentice of the Year. I am fortunate to work for a company that supports development of individuals and encourages everyone to better themselves. This fits well with the attitudes and philosophies which are encouraged by the CII and there is a huge amount of opportunities within our industry for young people.
Part of the reason for my progress in studies toward my ACII qualification has been down to the momentum I have been able to build. I find it hugely rewarding to be able to successfully complete a module and move onto the next. It definitely isn't as easy as it sounds though and, like everyone, I have my bad days. When you get in from work after a long day or following other commitments, the last thing you want to do is sit down and read through a textbook or make notes on insurance law. It is important though, when you are in the swing of things and studying regularly, that you keep on top of it, despite other destractions, even if you are only doing a little each time.
Many I have spoken to who have achieved their Advanced Diplomas, or better, have said if you get the chance to earn your qualifications earlier on in your career, you should take it, before other responsibilities in life come along.
THREE THINGS TO TAKE AWAY
Starting out: Apprenticeships are a great way to gain experience while improving your knowledge
Support: Many companies are hugely supportive of employees working towards qualifications
Get ahead: If you get the chance to earn qualifications early in your career, do it!