Daniel Kinlan, Apprentice - Corporate Glasgow

Posted: 19th of November 2013 by Naomi Bourne

I joined Aon in October 2012, alongside 9 others in the UK’s first ever apprenticeship scheme. The last 8 months have flown by – from being in London studying every month to attending conferences and seminars – life since high school has definitely changed!

Upon arrival to Aon – a 2 week residential induction was first on the agenda. The induction was a huge success and the structure of the programme set all of us up perfectly prior to our entrance in to our respective offices. A week of personal development and behavioural classes allowed us to gauge how we should present ourselves, the appropriate etiquette to use and how we should go about promoting ourselves in the most positive way.

In the second week we were introduced to the world of insurance through a detailed introduction, learning about the principles of insurance and beginning to understand just how fundamental risk is globally. Not only did this help build our technical knowledge but it also helped eradicate doubts in regards to the lack of knowledge we possessed.

Together through meeting new colleagues and friends and working on our own technical knowledge, the arrival into our respective offices seemed less daunting! What stood out right from the start is the lengths Aon went to introduce ten 18-19 year olds into their organisation – it was pretty clear from the offset that all of us were joining a special organisation.

Being employed in a job with massive opportunities at such a young age is something I am extremely grateful for. I know I speak for all of the apprentices when I say our gratefulness is mirrored also by a huge sense of pride. I don’t think any of us had planned on joining the world’s largest professional services firm, let alone a career in insurance! What the past 8 months have shown me, however, is that scepticism over this industry is due to lack of knowledge into it. It is not the dull and boring world some might suspect! There are countless opportunities at Aon and until I joined I had no sense of just how fundamental risk is globally. I am excited to be here at Aon and look forward to growing as a person, advancing my career and helping colleagues worldwide in bringing the best of Aon to clients.

Being based in Glasgow, I am currently the only apprentice in Scotland. Upon joining Aon I embarked on a rotational programme around the different facets of a corporate office. My first 8 months were spent in Trade Credit. Prior to joining I knew very little about credit insurance – from being involved in this department however I am now aware what Aon can offer clients in regards to this specialist form of insurance. How it protects them against bad debt by transferring the risk from their balance sheet, allowing finance to be used elsewhere to positively enhance business. Credit Insurance can benefit not only multinational companies but small enterprises can also reap the rewards. Through involvement in this department, I feel confident that in the future I can help clients and colleagues understand the need for credit insurance. What factors trigger potential areas where cover would be beneficial and how Aon can assist in arranging the most suitable cover for that client.

Currently, I have moved across to the General side of the office and currently reside within the Client Service Team, providing support to Client Service Advisors and Managers. Going forward my time will be spent across the various departments; such as Sales, Broking, and Claims. My initial learning in Credit Insurance as well as my ever increasing technical knowledge has left me in the ideal place to hit the ground running in regards to supporting the Client Service Team. Going forward, I feel the stints in various departments can impact massively on my future as I can use this knowledge to aid my own career as well as benefitting clients I may work with and colleagues. Not everybody has a working experience in every department, so such a chance to engage in this programme is an exciting opportunity for me.

At Aon, there are opportunities for everybody to aid their personal development. Through attending various seminars and networking events, I have seen a huge rise in my own self confidence. The benefit of attending such events with colleagues is huge. I can see how they present themselves as well as building my own network. In conjunction with continual study, I now feel more competent in regards to my ability to communicate with others as my degree of technical knowledge is constantly increasing.

These events also help address a problem I feel many young professionals fear will hinder their progression, and that is scepticism into their ability due to their experience. Being only 19 – it is obvious there is going to be initial doubts as to my capability but through continually developing and attending such events – I can only become more approachable and learn how to demonstrate confidence in the way I talk and present myself to others. The rotational programme I am on can also help address this as after I have spent time within the different departments, I will have experience to back up my actions.

For any young professional, if maximum effort is given to development – there will be no opportunity for scepticism to develop and it can be effectively tackled as early as possible.

On the job experience is obviously vital in making sure all apprentices continue to progress. In conjunction with this, all of us are continually studying towards our CII professional qualifications. Through the monthly workshops and regular feedback all of us are on course to achieve our Diplomas in insurance in our first 18 months. These workshops provide a great opportunity to catch up with each other and also benefit our studies towards our exams. All of us have a fantastic opportunity at such a large organisation at a young age, an opportunity I am sure we will all firmly grasp.

The Apprenticeship scheme has been a pleasure to be a part of and the support from the start has allowed me to feel truly part of Aon. My initial feeling of scepticism and doubts were largely addressed by the induction and continue to be met every day to ensure me that for young professionals, Aon is a special place to be. I am excited to be part of this programme, excited to be at Aon and excited for my future. For now however I won’t wish away years, as after all I still have my last teenage year to enjoy.

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