Brokers can reap huge benefits by implementing an apprenticeship programme, and Insurance Times and Aviva are on hand to provide plenty of help and support to get you started
As brokers up and down the country look for cost-effective ways to grow their business in these challenging economic conditions, many are discovering that taking on an apprentice is a rewarding option. Hard-working and hungry to progress, apprentices can offer enormous benefits to a broker’s business. It is no wonder the British Chamber of Commerce reports that 80% of employers surveyed say apprentices make the workplace more productive.
In recognition of their immense value, Insurance Times and Aviva have teamed up to launch their Apprenticeships initiative. The partnership will highlight the benefits of apprentices and provide free support to those broking directors who want to take on an apprentice, as well as to the apprentices themselves (see box on the benefits, below).
One of the great things about taking on an apprentice is that there’s plenty of government support available. There is funding, grants and other support resources on hand to help get your company started with apprenticeships. In fact, you could be up and running with an apprentice in your office in just eight weeks.
So how could your business benefit from taking on apprentices? Here are some of the key advantages:
1. Apprenticeships are a cost-effective way to employ and train young people: apprentices need to be paid at least the minimum wage, and businesses may be eligible for financial support, such as grants and learning loans.
2. Apprentices have proven to be more loyal and committed employees: 80% of employers with apprenticeships feel they reduce staff turnover (source: Populus).
3. You set the skills you require your apprentice to have: 83% of employers rely on their apprenticeship programme to provide the skilled workers they need for the future (source: Populus).
4. You can fill the skill gaps you need to have the competitive edge: 77% of employers believe apprenticeships make them more competitive (source: Populus).
More than 50% of apprentices go on to management positions within the business. But there are plenty of rewards even before they are qualified. Forty-one per cent of businesses surveyed by Populus said their apprentices make a valuable contribution to the business during their training period, while a further 33% report that apprentices add value within their first few weeks.
The rewards extend beyond this too. Research carried out by the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) shows that more than 80% of people are more likely to use a business if it offers apprenticeships to young people - so use local PR to promote it and feature the employer badge on your marketing material.
Helping your business grow
Leeds-based Bartlett Group has taken on a number of apprentices and is already feeling the benefits (see the case study, right). Head of credit insurance Nick Stubbs says: “Definitely do it. The admin from an employer’s perspective is fairly light. There are some great candidates out there without degrees who can make a very strong contribution to your business.”
There’s no time to lose. Join up today with Insurance Times and Aviva Apprenticeships to take the first steps towards taking on an apprentice to help your
Reaping the benefits
As we’ve outlined above, the potential benefits to your business of taking on an apprentice are huge, and we can help you get there with free online advice and support.
But the benefits on offer stretch to the apprentices themselves too. When you take on an apprentice, sign them up to our community and they’ll receive:
- One year’s free access to Aviva’s Learning and Development Zone. The zone offers help on 70 technical subjects and more than 300 e-learning courses. This will help apprentices become FSA compliant and offer the best advice to their customers.
- One year’s free online subscription to insurancetimes.co.uk, featuring industry expert views and advice.
- The apprentice community e-zine.
- Regular updates and social networking opportunities through Facebook and Twitter.
Case study: Bartlett Group
Leeds-based Bartlett Group, one of the largest independent brokers in the North East, has taken on a number of apprentices and is reaping the benefits.
Head of corporate risk Mike Briggs says his apprentice, Dexter Mudumu, who joined in July last year, has been “excellent”. He adds: “Dexter’s contribution has been fantastic. He’s been working right since day one even through his training period.”
Now he believes all brokers should follow Bartlett Group’s example and take advantage of the rewards that an apprenticeship programme can offer.
Nick Stubbs, head of credit insurance, Bartlett Group: “This initiative is an excellent idea. There is so little training going on within the industry at the moment, so something like this is a real must. There was a time when five O-Levels opened up every career to you, and this redresses the balance between everybody having to have a degree and bringing through good quality staff.”
Mike Briggs, head of corporate risk, Bartlett Group: “The Aviva and Insurance Times promotion is a great idea if it helps brokers engage in the apprenticeship programme. I would encourage other brokers to join. It’s a great feeling to be able to offer someone their first job and start in a profession, and it is also good value for the business.”
Apprentice’s view: Dexter Mudumu, apprentice, Bartlett Group
Bartlett Group apprentice Dexter Mudumu joined in July last year and he’s delighted with the result. With university fees at an all-time high, Dexter decided he wanted a professional career, but without the financial burden.
Speaking to Insurance Times about how he has found it so far, he said: “It’s been fantastic, I’ve learned and experienced so much. I was taken down to London and went around the insurance market and it was really interesting.”
Dexter said he’s also looking forward to getting qualified. “You can gain up to a degree-level qualification, which is ACII level, and once you gain that qualification it’s internationally recognised so you can go really far with that.”
Dexter added that he would recommend it to any younger person. “I would definitely encourage them to take it up, because you can learn a lot from insurers and brokers, and you can get so much experience that other companies recognise and take into account, so it will benefit them.”
For full video interviews with Dexter, Nick and Mike, go to insurancetimes.co.uk/apprenticeships.
Q&A: Phil Bayles, Aviva
Aviva’s broker performance director Phil Bayles says that broker directors who implement apprenticeship programmes can expect long-term rewards for the company and apprentice alike
Q: Why did Aviva and Insurance Times decide to strike a partnership to help brokers recruit apprentices?
A: Aviva and Insurance Times have been working together to help promote talent throughout the past few years with the IT Pack. We want to carry on doing that but we also want the opportunity to encourage new people into the industry. From an opportunity side, there’s never been a better time than now to grab young talent and nurture that talent, because opportunities are restricted elsewhere.
Q: How can this partnership help brokers recruit apprentices?
A: We believe with the support of Insurance Times and Aviva, we can give brokers the confidence and support they need to launch apprenticeships and make them successful and rewarding. We are there as a facilitator and to give brokers confidence that this is
the right thing to do, and we will help them.
Q: What are the benefits of an apprentice to a broker?
A: It’s energy, enthusiasm, and the ability for the broker to work with the person to help shape their business practices, ethics and approach, and we know the long-term impact is high levels of employer satisfaction and a high level of staff retention.
Q: Finally, what would your key message be to any young person who is thinking of becoming an apprentice?
A: I think in today’s job market, getting some high-quality work experience behind you is a first step for any school leaver or graduate. Youth unemployment is a social ill that does no one any good, and apprenticeships are a way out of that. The insurance industry might have a somewhat dusty image, but the reality is far more exciting. It is a complex market; you are always learning something new every day, even if you have been in the industry for 20 years. It’s a sector where you can gain professional qualifications, and it’s also a social and fun industry to be in.