Last week was National Apprenticeship Week 2021 in the UK and ICMF member NFU Mutual asked some of its past and current apprentices to explain how their apprenticeship is helping them to build their future.
Apprenticeship Programmes have been available to both external candidates and existing employees within NFU Mutual since April 2017. To date, more than 100 people have started an apprenticeship at NFU Mutual in roles ranging from Insurance Professional to Business Analyst, Infrastructure Technician to Team Leaders.
NFU Mutual says its apprenticeships are available to anyone regardless of age. They provide full-time employment and last between 15 and 24 months, depending on the route followed. Apprentices enjoy a rewarding balance of on-the-job learning, hands-on experience and independent study time for a professional qualification, supported by managers and dedicated staff through a government approved apprenticeship programme.
In 2020 NFU Mutual, whose head office is in Stratford Upon Avon, was recognised as a ‘Gallup Exceptional Workplace’. It is the only UK headquartered organisation to win this award, and one of only 40 companies across the globe.
The Gallup Exceptional Workplace award is given only to organisations that prove they achieve exceptional performance through a highly engaged workforce. The award follows a submission to Gallup’s panel of expert judges, which requires entrants to clearly evidence the link between engagement and business outcomes. The panel recognised that NFU Mutual create a culture of engagement, both within teams and across the whole organisation.
Trisha Jones, HR Director at NFU Mutual, said: “As a Great Place to Work, we actively encourage our new recruits and existing employees to develop their skills and careers at NFU Mutual. This not only ensures that we’re building for our future as a business but also that our employees are building for their own futures too.”
Read the stories of NFU Mutual’s past and current apprentices:
Dominique Stout is a Personal Injury Claims Paralegal in Large Loss Claims based at Head Office. Dominique started her apprenticeship alongside her role when she joined the business in October 2019. Here she explains why she feels development opportunities like our apprenticeship programmes are all part of what makes NFU Mutual a Great Place to Work.
What is it about your job that you enjoy?
I enjoy the everyday challenges that I face as a Paralegal. The interesting cases, the case law and the detailed tasks keep me very busy and my mind constantly buzzing. My department is made up of highly skilled individuals with a range of work experience and they are all forthcoming with their wisdom or advice.
I have helped bring several big cases to settlement through arranging conference calls with counsel, preparing manuscripts of JSM’s and gathering and transporting medical evidence. I find NFU Mutual is so inclusive and so focused on your personal growth that I know I will go far here, if I have the right attitude and this makes me want to stay long term.
What makes NFU Mutual such a Great Place to Work?
There are many reasons, the employee benefits, the career progression, the variety in roles but ultimately it feels as though we are also so closely knitted together and all routing for the same goals. It doesn’t matter what level you are or what your role entails, everybody at NFU Mutual is focused on making our offices a great place to work and ensuring that we are all able to do our best under any circumstance.
Benji Barley is a current Apprentice Business Analyst based at NFU Mutual.
What does your apprenticeship involve?
My apprenticeship consists of two key aspects.
The first is my apprenticeship portfolio where I summarise the work I complete on various projects within the business and discuss how each piece of work demonstrates the technical skills required to pass the apprenticeship. I will be assessed on this at the end of the apprenticeship.
The second is the various learning and courses that need to be completed with each aiming to further develop my knowledge around different aspects related to my role. These involve periods of online learning, typically a 2-3 day course to reinforce your knowledge and then a short exam, which I book at my convenience.
Of course, while completing these elements I also have the option to participate in a variety of non-apprenticeship activities and projects, which provide me with the opportunity to interact and learn from the people around me, gain valuable experience and expand my knowledge, all of which support my personal development.
How are you supported during your apprenticeship?
As I started my apprenticeship in October 2020, the working environment was quite different to what it was at the start of the year. Despite this, I was given the opportunity to work in the office for the first few weeks allowing me to properly settle in and meet some of my team in person. Various training is provided to help introduce you to the company and educate you on NFU Mutual’s ethos, culture and guiding principles.
I was also supported in my transition to working from home. I was provided with any extra equipment I required, and the business ensured that I was comfortable and had a suitable home office set-up. I also have regular meetings with my manager to discuss my working environment, wellbeing and any other concerns.
As well professional support, I have also had the opportunity to participate in quizzes with team members, various exercise sessions and challenges to support my wellbeing and help my integration into the team.
Tommy Lincoln is a current Apprentice Business Analyst in Group IT at NFU Mutual. Here Tommy explains why an apprenticeship at NFU Mutual is the perfect way to start his career:
What first attracted you to NFU Mutual as an employer?
I knew of NFU Mutual because my Grandfather was a farmer, so when I found out they offered an apprenticeship I spoke to him about the company. He was extremely positive about his experience and as I did more research around the company, I found that their ethos aligned with my own, so it felt like the perfect place to start my career.
Why did you choose the apprenticeship route?
I completed a range of work experience and loved the office environment and wanted to work as soon as I could. I have found that the most effective way for me to learn is through doing, and an apprenticeship was the perfect platform for me to start my career through gaining experience and qualifications.
How would you describe the onboarding experience, given that you started during the COVID-19 pandemic?
NFU Mutual handled the onboarding process really well despite the tough situation. They planned a range of activities for me and I started learning from day one. Furthermore, my whole team has made an active effort to make me feel welcome and supported while working from home, which has made me feel accepted and part of the team
To find out more about NFU Mutual’s Apprenticeship Programme or other career and development opportunities within NFU Mutual, visit: https://careers.nfumutual.co.uk/what-you-could-be-doing/apprenticeships