Apprentices take up permanent roles with UK General
UK General has placed six more apprentices throughout the business as interest in the scheme has developed. Overall has increased staff to 293 in the past year by hiring an additional 45 people.
The now-former apprentices, all from Yorkshire, include Amy Right – receptionist/group administrator, Damien Cliffe – finance assistant, Karl Robinson – finance assistant and Hiran Tura – business support. Each of them is continuing under the apprenticeship programme to work towards gaining professional qualifications.
In addition, other non-graduate UK General employees, aged under-25, have been enrolled into apprenticeship training programmes. One of them, Rebecca Milward, trainee underwriter, at UK General business, Rural Insurance, based in Harrogate, has recently achieved the Chartered Insurance Institute’s Certificate in Insurance.
Susie Phillips, HR business partner at the company said: “We have found the apprentices very keen to learn as they tend not to have any previous workplace experience. And because of the Government funding available, they qualify for access to a range of learning support and an assessor to help them achieve recognised qualifications.
“When they began, most of the apprentices had little or no understanding of the insurance industry, but we have been able to give them a thorough grounding and offer them roles that they can grow into.”
“Overall, we have been absolutely thrilled with the apprenticeship programme, which is why we have chosen to extend it through the business. It also reflects our approach to employee development, as many of our people in senior positions have worked their way up from a junior level.”
UK General is also helping introduce students at the local Cockburn High School in Leeds to the idea of apprenticeships. The school, which receives voluntary support and coaching from UK General employees, has sent students to talk to staff at the firm about the apprenticeship programme.
According to official figures, more people than ever before are taking part in apprenticeships: provisional figures published on 17th October showed that nearly 860,000 people were in apprenticeships in 2012/13 with higher and advanced levels attracting record levels of apprentices.
Caspar Bartington from the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), professional body for the insurance industry, said: “The CII is a firm supporter of apprenticeships as a way to develop those who have chosen not to attend university. The blend of a professional qualification with on-the-job training makes for a highly effective and motivated member of staff. More companies across the insurance market are offering technical apprenticeships that contain our qualifications, and I am delighted to see that UK General Insurance is offering this development programme to its staff.”
The Chartered Insurance Institute recently selected UK General underwriting manager, Rob Witts, to join its learning and professional development group, the “New Generation Programme”, which includes involvement in producing an in-depth industry report. He was the only underwriter from Yorkshire to be selected for 44 places out of 165 applicants.