CII relationship manager told delegates at Apprenticeships LIVE in Birmingham that SMEs in particular are becoming more open to the idea of taking on an apprentice

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The number of insurance companies interested in starting an apprenticeship scheme is on the increase, according to CII relationship manager Caspar Bartington.

There have already been 500 apprentices starting on insurance related schemes over 2015, meaning the industry is on course to exceed the number of apprentices that started on a programme in 2014 when more than 1,000 individuals started an apprenticeship.

Speaking at the latest Apprenticeships LIVE event in Birmingham, Bartington said he was getting a number of calls each week from companies thinking about setting up a scheme.

“I personally get half a dozen enquiries every week, from SMEs especially, saying: ‘I want to start an apprenticeship programme’,” he said. “The CII’s role is to bring supply and demand together, so we say: ‘this is how the programme works and this is how the funding works.”

Bartington also told apprentices at the event that insurers and brokers were putting greater value on the benefits of apprenticeships, and that employers were now more interested in the person and what they could bring to the team rather than academic qualifications.

“More companies are going to go on who you are, rather than what you studied,” he said. “Some companies will always have a graduate scheme, but most will have apprenticeship schemes as well.

“The more impressed companies get with their apprentices, the more they will start to think: ‘do we need all these graduates, as these apprentices have better soft skills and professional awareness’.”

And RSA regions north director Lee Mooney said it was vital that industry supported this by continuing to invest in apprenticeships.

“It is great that Insurance Times and the CII are putting more emphasis on apprenticehips and getting more awareness,” he said. ”It now needs insurance companies and brokers to stand-up and start to really invest to get some real capital investment into this area.”