Insurance Age Broker Apprentice 2016, Craig Younger, talks to Kate Allinson about his journey through the competition-¦
Many ambitious brokers put themselves forward to be named Insurance Age Broker Apprentice 2016. Interviews in Belfast, Bristol, London and Manchester whittled the numbers down, before the final six faced a set of challenges including a treasure hunt and running a school career event. A shining star from the Northeast emerged to be crowned the winner -- Craig Younger, an SME account handler at Castle Insurance Services.
Kate Allison, who volunteers as public relations officer for the Insurance Institute of Newcastle upon Tyne, met up with Craig to find out about his experience-¦
How did you initially become involved in the Insurance Age Broker Apprentice 2016?
I had been following the online videos of past Broker Apprentice competitions and this year I thought: what's the worst that can happen? After the interviews, I was lucky enough to be selected as one of this year's finalists. I never dreamt that I would win it; all I wanted was to gain some experience and meet new people.
Tell us about the Broker Expo team task, where you had to convince brokers on a stand that you had the best campaign idea.
I found the Broker Expo certainly played to my strengths and it wasn't really a surprise that it was my favourite task. It gave me the opportunity to meet and talk to new people at some of the top levels of the insurance broking world, which is exactly what I wanted to gain out of the whole experience. I do pride myself on my people skills and this environment was perfect to display those skills. Th e hustle and bustle of Broker Expo was brilliant; there wasn't a minute's downtime and the people were fantastic.
What did you gain from working with the other apprentices and how can you pass on your experiences to other young people coming into the industry?
I cannot stress enough how good the other candidates were -- it is brilliant to see other young brokers coming through and it reinforces my enthusiasm for insurance broking. Across all six of the finalists there was a wide range of experience and differing job roles, which provided different viewpoints to learn from. It was invaluable working with all of the candidates on the various tasks and bouncing ideas around.
For young people looking to join the insurance profession, I would certainly encourage them to get out of their comfort zone and try different things. Everything is a learning opportunity -- try to broaden your horizon and whichever area of insurance you settle on, they are all connected so a good grasp on the workings of all areas will stand you in good stead.
Have your future personal development goals changed following your apprentice journey and winning the Insurance Age Broker Apprentice 2016?
My personal development goals have not changed as a result of winning the Broker Apprentice competition, as I have a very clear vision of where I want to be and what I have to do to get there -- it has cemented that and reassured me that I am already on the right path. It will however give me the tools, through mentoring and professional qualifications, to progress along that path even faster.
What would be your advice be to young people who are considering entering next year's Insurance Age Broker Apprentice?
Do it! You have to give it a go. If you are lucky enough to make it into the final then just be yourself, let your natural talent shine through. Above all else, it is a fantastic experience -- it is very well organised and lets you access people and places that you might never get the chance to again. It really is a once in a lifetime experience.
â Kate Allison is commercial and corporate insurance broker at Insure Business Services
Mr Younger has since joined the Insurance Institute of Newcastle young members committee and is also studying towards the CII Diploma.