Articles - Mercer leads Trailblazer scheme for Actuarial apprenticeship

 Mercer is leading a team of employers and trade bodies – Government-labelled Trailblazers – in developing an Actuarial Technical apprenticeship standard in England. The standard will help all actuarial employers measure the success of their apprenticeship programme and the performance of their apprentices. Mercer is working alongside Aon Hewitt, Barnett Waddington, Grant Thornton, JLT, RSA, PWC and KPMG, with support from the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries.

 Apprenticeships are seen as a key component in creating employment opportunities for students not attending university. The creation of the apprenticeship standards are part of the Government’s apprenticeship reform plans following the Richard Review. The review recommended the creation of employer-led design, delivery and assessment of industry-wide apprenticeships to encourage their usage and increase staff diversity in a number of sectors. As well as being implemented in the actuarial community, the phase 2 Trailblazer spans 29 other industries across finance, law, engineering, insurance and hospitality. Mercer is also developing standards for an Investment Operations apprenticeship and a Trainee Workplace Pensions Administrator/ Consultant apprenticeship.

 Karen Bennett, a Principal within Mercer’s Retirement business explains: “It’s important that the actuarial community is diverse and provides opportunities for those who traditionally might not have chosen it as a career path. This apprenticeship standard will help close the gap between vocational and university education and allow apprentices achieving the standard to be able to compete for jobs with those leaving university. Apprentices will be independently assessed at the end of their programme to ensure that they have received a valuable qualification and obtained the knowledge and skills required to lead successful careers in their chosen field. We are pleased to be pioneers.”

 Skills Minister Nick Boles said: “I’m delighted that the Actuarial Trailblazer has developed a new Actuarial Technician apprenticeship standard. Since 2010 there have been 1.8 million apprenticeship starts and actuarial employees are leading by example in the development and delivery of high quality apprenticeships that give people the chance of successful careers and help businesses get the skills they need to grow.”

 Dr Siobhan Martin, UK HR Director and an Executive Director of Mercer UK explains: “Mercer is not only an industry leader in retirement and investments but also, as part of the highly respected talent business, consults companies on how to engage their employees and maximise business performance. At Mercer we practice what we preach and are delighted to be spearheading the next generation of apprenticeship programmes. We currently have nine apprentices across Mercer’s UK business functions and see apprenticeships as a way to achieve a strong talent pipeline for the industry as well as a more diverse workforce.”

 The Trailblazer scheme is currently in its second phase of development and the completion date is set for spring 2015, with the first group of apprentices beginning in September 2015.

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