The CII debuts apprenticeships guidance package in a push to attract and invest in apprentices

Senior human resources and learning and development specialists were offered guidance on making the most of apprenticeships at a CII session entitled “The Talent Conundrum: The Apprenticeship Key”.

It has recently released a package of support for firms of any size interested in taking on apprentices.

The package

The CII package includes a guide to apprenticeships, webinars, podcasts, accredited training providers and a national apprenticeship service helpline.

CII development director Steve Jenkins stressed that the CII is offering face to face as well as online support and all insurance firms can benefit from the program and apprenticeships.

Apprenticeship qualifications range from school leaver level to post-degree level. Some have been developed with integrated CII qualifications.

CII chief executive Sian Fisher said ”Apprenticeships are now an integral part of how our profession attracts, develops and retains talent. We remain steadfastly committed to working with policymakers, to ensure the needs of all firms in our sector are taken into consideration.”

She added ”To make the best of the opportunity the levy provides, firms need to consider apprenticeships as part of their talent and wider business strategies, enabling businesses to future-proof their long-term success. We will continue to work with providers to support firms achieve this and bring new talent to our profession.”

The experts

Session keynote speaker CII president and Lloyd’s chief executive Inga Beale highlighted the problem of an aging workforce within the insurance industry.

“84% of millennials consider it their duty to make the world a better place” - Inga Beale

She warned attendees that while the UK is currently seen as leading the way in insurance, expertise must be passed on so that the next generation can continue to uphold its reputation and respond to emerging risks.

Beale quoted research by Deloitte that shows 84% of millennials consider it their duty to make the world a better place. Surely, she suggested, that was exactly what insurance does. The industry’s struggle with its image means that younger people were unlikely to know how interesting the sector can be, Beale claimed.

The skills shortage, a lack of diversity and social mobility and the productivity gap are all issues for businesses that could be addressed by apprenticeships, claimed National Apprenticeship Service deputy director of consumer services Joe Billington.

“It’s an opportunity, not a tax.” - Aon’s Adrian Johnson

Apprentices could expect a lifetime income boost of £150k, while companies benefit from apprentices’ commitment to and understanding of a business that helped train them.

Aon senior consultant and UK apprenticeship lead Adrian Johnson revealed the major challenges to its recent adoption of apprenticeships. These were culture, perception and legislation.

Johnson urged insurers to look past the costs of apprenticeships, saying “It’s an opportunity, not a tax.”

What is the apprenticeships levy?

The levy is 0.5% of payroll for any employers with a payroll of above £3m. This is offset by a £15,000 levy allowance per year and the government tops up levy payers’ spending by 10%.

For businesses with a payroll below £3m, the government contributes 90% to the cost of training. New and existing staff training can be funded in this way.

The talent

Two young apprentices were welcomed to the stage to give their views on the sector and share how apprenticeships had benefited them.

Both apprentices came from different backgrounds and spoke highly of apprenticeships within insurance. Zurich Insurance apprentice Deepak Soggy dropped out of his sixth form – not so unlike Beale herself, who had earlier revealed she dropped out of university after two months – and used to work in retail stores. A lack of job satisfaction led to his ambitions to work within financial services.

Lloyd’s of London apprentice Faye Adamou turned down a university offer to pursue an apprenticeship in insurance, because it meant “no debt” and all the positives of “London life”.

Both apprentices have successfully secured employment since their initial apprenticeship, with Adamou joining Willis Towers Watson and Soggy aiming to continue obtaining further qualifications while working as part of the Zurich claims team.