Members of the Association of British Insurers (ABI) have pledged to double the number of apprenticeships across the insurance and long-term savings sector to 2,500 by 2025.
Over the next three years, the commitment aims to boost socio-economic diversity at entry level across the industry. The opportunities will be offered to school leavers and upwards to help reach those who might not otherwise have considered a career in the sector. It will increase career opportunities around the UK. With two-thirds of industry jobs based outside of London, the insurance and long-term savings sector recognises the significant role it has to play in boosting economic growth around the country and to contribute to the “levelling up” agenda. It will increase access and inclusion, boosting the number of entry level and training opportunities in the sector and building a workforce where talent can thrive, no matter what stage of their career or their background.
There are currently around 1,200 apprentices working across the sector, in insurance-specific programmes and wider business schemes.
Last year, Lewis Cunningham completed an Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship at RSA based in Manchester. Lewis, who now holds the position of Commercial Claims Handler, says: “I applied for the apprenticeship because I didn’t actually want to go to university. I didn’t like learning when there was no practical element to it and when it was classroom based. When you undertake an apprenticeship in the insurance sector, everything that you’re learning about in the Chartered Institute of Insurance (CII) books relates to your day-to-day job and has a practical element to it.”
“Since I’ve completed the apprenticeship, I feel like I’ve got a lot more and better job opportunities. It’s really good for getting your foot in the door at the company, getting experience across a number of departments, networking with key contacts and gaining valuable advice on how to progress in your career.”
Speaking about her experience of undertaking an apprenticeship at Direct Line Group, based in Bromley, Abby Williams said that initially she didn’t think she was qualified for a role in the sector: “At the beginning I was very nervous, I did not have much knowledge of insurance. I had taken out car insurance once, and that was it, that was the extent of my knowledge. I felt very underqualified, however, I soon realised that there was nothing to worry about and an apprenticeship is all about learning as you go and we’ve had so many opportunities to expand our knowledge and learn new things.”
Manuel Thompson-Oloko, early careers manager at the Chartered Insurance Institute, said: “Apprenticeships in insurance have become integral to entry programmes in our industry as well as upskilling and retraining our existing workforce. They provide a great channel for boosting socio-economic diversity, improving access and inclusion, and increasing opportunities across the UK. We welcome ABI’s commitment and will play our part in ensuring the success of this initiative.”
Hannah Gurga, ABI Director General said: “As one of the largest industries in the UK, employing 320,000 people, we have an important role to play in supporting and developing people’s careers throughout the country. Doubling the number of apprenticeships is an important step in our continued efforts to boost diversity and inclusion across the sector, to provide career opportunities at all levels and to ensure our workforce reflects the communities we serve.”
For more news and information from the ABI, visit www.abi.org.uk.