What is your name, job title and employer?
My name is Aloise Robinson and I’m an Insurance Practitioner Apprentice at Aiken Insurances.
What attracted you to this apprenticeship?
I decided to do an insurance apprenticeship because I didn't know what I wanted to do when I was in school, I didn't want to go down the traditional route, I didn't want to go to college, well there was no course that I wanted to do, so I decided to do some research online and see what I could do and alternative routes. I came across the Earn and Learn website. When I saw that this gave me three years on-the-job experience while earning a degree, while earning a salary, it brought everything together that I wanted to do.
What does your job involve?
On a typical working day for me I'll come into the office before 9 o'clock. I will go through my emails and I'll start to get up to date with what has happened. Then I'll take phone calls from clients. I'll usually pass them through to who they're looking for, what they need, guide them in the right direction and then I'll be assigned different tasks from different departments in the company but as I'm doing that I get to learn about each department and how each department works and I get to realise what department I like and what I'm interested in.
How do you balance work and study?
During school I was working part time as a waitress on the weekends and then obviously studying full-time during the week so it was like a complete opposite change to working full time and then studying part time but once you get the work-life balance together and then the work-study balance it all kind of falls into place.
How does your study component work?
Well the study component works by once a week you're in the office at your computer and you put your earphones in and you're listening to the lecture online. You can see the video live streamed and there's a chat box you can use to ask questions, talk to your other peers, things like that and then they're lecturing and showing you slides, going through the tutorial, and you're learning as you're taking your notes at your desk.
How do people benefit from an apprenticeship?
You get the three years on the job experience; you get the degree and you get to earn a salary so it's interesting. It's something that I was interested in. You're not just going to college and doing the same routine every day. You get a diverse look into every aspect of the insurance industry.
What challenges might an apprentice face?
Well coming straight from school into the work environment it was very daunting as in school you're spoon fed, you're shown what to do, how to do it, but when you come into the work environment you have to take your own initiative into doing things and you have got a lot more responsibility. I wasn't used to the amount of responsibility and the independence that it gave me. You just have to get used to the work etiquette and it was hard, it was a challenge, but once you get into it, it's like I've never been in school.
What misconceptions are there about this industry?
It's different from what I thought it would be. When I came into insurance I kind of thought insurance was straightforward, you apply, you get your insurance, you pay your premium, you make a claim and that's it, but it really isn't. There are so many different aspects to it, so many different elements. So much work goes into actually getting an insurance policy. Behind the scenes there are so many different intermediaries and people involved that it really is a diverse industry and it is interesting.
What do you love about your job?
The one thing that I really enjoy about working in this industry is the workplace environment and the different people I get to interact with every day. Every day is different. I meet new people on the phone and meet new people in person and you're exposed to so many different aspects that it is really interesting.
What advice would you give to someone considering this industry?
The advice I would give to a school leaver if you're unsure of what path you want to take and no college courses are really spiking your interest and work sounds like something that you'd like to do you should definitely take a look into the insurance apprenticeship.