Deborah Parker, Actuarial Apprentice, Mercer - Manchester

Posted: 26th of August 2016 by Nerys Montana


“What’s great about my actuarial apprenticeship is that I’ve been involved in such a variety of different projects early on. I’m treated like a graduate and trusted to produce work to the same level and quality.”

The work place is calling! Here Georgina Jenkins at the IFoA speaks to Deborah who plans to qualify as an actuary via an actuarial apprenticeship and is off to a flying start!

Deborah, what made you decide to do an apprenticeship?

University is a route I had always expected I would take. Teachers and family had always described it as an inevitable next step after college but, the truth is, university is not for everyone. I feel that unless you are 100% enthusiastic about a university education or have your eye on a career that is, at present, only achievable with a degree, you should take a look at other alternatives.

As someone who really enjoyed their part time job and the hands on experience that having a job offers, an apprenticeship was the ideal and logical step into working life that suited my personality and skills.

So inspirational Deborah! What did you excel in at college?

At college I tried to do as much maths as I could possibly do! I enjoyed science and languages but it was my interest in mathematics that motivated me to pursue an actuarial career.

How did you hear about the apprenticeship at Mercer?

My search for potential employers started on the internet. Mercer was one employer listed on the website as having had an apprenticeship scheme, Karen Bennett was listed as contact, so I enquired as to whether Mercer were recruiting.

Tell us a bit about what you do day-to-day?

The great thing about my role is that no two days are the same. I am involved in a wide variety of work including individual member calculations, funding updates, member communications, trustee action logs.

When I started work at Mercer, I’d not expected to be involved in such a variety of different projects so early on. I’m treated like a graduate and trusted to produce work to the same level and quality – which is great, a real confidence boost!

What’s it like going straight from school into a job?

Between A-Levels and starting my apprenticeship, I took a gap year and worked as an au pair, in a ski resort and in a hotel. Those jobs could be quite full on a certainly required personal organisation and initiative. This helped me make the transition and also helped me to decide that I preferred the world of work to a university environment.

Being in a professional firm is different again but I found I really enjoyed it from day one.

What’s next for you?

Given the opportunity, I hope to be able to start the Fellowship exams before completing the CAA. So I don’t expect to gain the full CAA qualification but do plan to become a qualified actuary!

Want to know more?

If you’re thinking university might not be right for you, but you love maths and the idea of work then contact the IFoA to find out more about the CAA professional qualification and apprenticeship: or 0207 632 2137

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