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Insurance sector unites to launch groundbreaking apprenticeships scheme
Brokers, carriers and professional organisations come together to launch sector-wide scheme at the start of National Apprenticeships Week
Apprentices alongside Ashwin Mistry, Deputy President of the CII, Otto Thoresen, Director General of the ABI, Sir Bobby Charlton, Matthew Hancock MP, Minister of State for Skills and Enterprise and Dominic Christian, CEO of Aon UK.

LONDON, March 3, 2014 – Aon plc (NYSE:AON), the leading global provider of risk management and human resource consulting and outsourcing, today joined with partners from across the insurance and risk management industry to launch the first ever sector-wide apprenticeships programme. The launch is being marked with an event at the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) attended by Matthew Hancock MP, Minister of State for Skills and Enterprise, and Manchester United legend Sir Bobby Charlton, once an apprentice himself.

The programme, a response to the Government’s Insurance Growth Action Plan, brings together the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), the Association of British Insurers (ABI), the British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA) as well as partners from across the insurance and risk management industry. This working group will continue to shape the industry’s response to the government’s ambition to double the number of apprentices in the sector. 

“This programme is the first of its kind for the risk management and insurance industry in the UK so we’re pleased to have played such a key part in it,” said Dominic Christian, CEO of Aon UK. “The UK is the heart of the global insurance industry and at Aon we’re committed to empowering young people from all backgrounds with the training needed to ensure this important industry continues to play a pivotal role in the UK economy. We must ensure the sector has the skills and talent to respond positively to the challenges of the future.”

“National Apprenticeships Week aims to showcase the diversity and value of apprenticeship qualifications so I’m pleased to be able to launch this initiative from one of our most important industries,” said Matthew Hancock MP, Minister of State for Skills and Enterprise. “It demonstrates how apprenticeships have an important role to play in every sector of the economy, including ones which might not traditionally have employed apprentices. Apprenticeships provide the opportunity for thousands of young people to earn while they learn; gaining a valuable qualification and experience of work in an industry.”

“The Aon apprenticeships scheme is a great opportunity for those who might not want to go to university,” said Alex Lee, who started on the inaugural Aon apprenticeship scheme in 2012. “I was new to the world of insurance but I’ve made enormous progress on the scheme since joining, including completing my CII qualification. I’ve also had the opportunity to experience the real world of business. I am now a Client Manager at Aon, dealing directly with client’s requests and committed to providing excellent customer service.” 

Notes to Editors

Case studies detailed below. Imagery of the event will be available from the morning of Monday 3 March.

Industry reaction

Otto Thoresen, Director General of the ABI, said: "The UK’s insurance industry’s worldwide reputation is built on the skills and expertise of its workforce. Bringing in new talent is essential and this new apprenticeship initiative will help encourage young people to join the industry and ensure it continues to play a key role in the fabric of people’s everyday lives.”

Steve White, Chief Executive of BIBA, said: “BIBA made a public commitment to support the Insurance growth action plan and apprenticeships in our Manifesto. This is the first step to take that forward. Our members are keen to support this initiative and we are delighted to play a lead role in delivering this.”

Sandy Scott, CEO of the Chartered Insurance Institute, said: “The CII believes that, for UK insurance to remain a global leader, we have to access the best talent from all walks of life. Apprenticeships are key to this ambition and play a vital role in ensuring we are an accessible sector. Students and parents need to see apprenticeships as a viable alternative to university and as way of developing a professional career. We will reinforce our efforts through our Discover Risk initiative, providing opportunities for current and former apprentices to highlight the benefits to those in school and colleges.”

Case Studies

Nadine Semaine

My name is Nadine Semaine and I joined Aon on the apprentice scheme in October 2012.

Whilst studying for my A levels I had decided that I was keen to enter the working world as I knew that university was not the choice for me. Through being involved in the Career Academies UK Scheme I learnt about the opportunity to join Aon. The scheme really appealed to me, as I would be able to gain experience working in the insurance industry whilst receiving support and guidance from Aon to complete my qualifications. I was prepared to start at the bottom and work hard in order to progress my career further at Aon.

My role in the London office is a Client service advisor. Day to day activities include administration on the accounts. Since joining Aon in 2013, I now work on 2 global accounts and have gained experience working with smaller clients.  Duties involve supporting client managers, responding to client requests and liaising with Insurers. I am also involved with the renewal process and work with client managers to ensure clients expectations are met.

I have enjoyed being a part of this scheme and feel I have made good start in my career, it has given me the confidence and ability to work well with my team and ensure we provide the best quality service to our clients. I am keen to further develop my career and complete my qualifications.

Alex Lee

My name is Alex Lee and I am part of the first Aon Apprentice intake in Wickford, Essex.

In 2012, I was studying Mechanical Engineering at University College of London when I decided that the university path was not what I wanted to do. After doing some research, I discovered that Aon were pioneering a new early careers scheme tailored towards school-leavers and young adults in my position. Following an interesting interview process, I was offered the chance to pursue a career in insurance broking via the inaugural Aon Apprenticeship Scheme.

My role at Wickford is that of a Client Manager. This involves the facilitation of ensuring a smooth renewal of a client’s policy by negotiating with insurers and ensuring the cover is appropriate, dealing with client’s queries and requests and generally providing excellent customer service to ensure a client is happy and retains their account with Aon.

There have been a few challenges, especially at the start of the programme! I was new to the world of Insurance and was tasked with dealing with Accountants Professional Indemnity insurance renewals, so not only did I had to learn about the world of work pretty quickly, I also had to study hard to ensure I was knowledgeable enough to perform my job role!

A year and a half later on and I believe I have come on in leaps and bounds. I am now in charge of my own book of clients and responsible for the financial performance of that account. I have also completed my CII qualification and looking forward to studying towards the Diploma in Insurance.

The next steps involve me getting to see other areas of the business available to me so I have a good plan for my career development. I look forward to taking on the next challenge with Aon.

About Aon

Aon plc (NYSE:AON) is the leading global provider of risk management, insurance and reinsurance brokerage, and human resources solutions and outsourcing services. Through its more than 66,000 colleagues worldwide, Aon unites to empower results for clients in over 120 countries via innovative and effective risk and people solutions and through industry-leading global resources and technical expertise. Aon has been named repeatedly as the world’s best broker, best insurance intermediary, reinsurance intermediary, captives manager and best employee benefits consulting firm by multiple industry sources. Visit www.aon.com for more information on Aon and www.aon.com/manchesterunited to learn about Aon’s global partnership and shirt sponsorship with Manchester United. 

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Matthew Hancock MP, Minister of State for Skills and Enterprise and Sir Bobby Charlton talk to Conor McCabe, an Aon apprentice.
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