I work at Bluefin Insurance Services' head office in the City of London as an apprentice corporate account broker. I help to identify the risks our clients face and design the insurance programmes that provide the most appropriate protection. Insurance is quite a technical business so I enjoy the combination of the mental challenge and meeting new people.
I grew up in Lewis in the Outer Hebrides and left school at 17 with seven GCSEs. Next I did a higher national diploma in tourism in Inverness before moving to London in 2006. I got a job as an air hostess with XL and got to fly to some amazing places. Unfortunately they went bust in 2009 so I took the opportunity to re-consider my career options. I decided to go into financial services because I thought it would offer greater security and a wide choice of jobs.
My first job was with Lloyds TSB in central London near Victoria. I was there for a year and really enjoyed it. The people were nice and easy to work with and I also liked the contact with customers. Then, through a friend of a friend, I heard about a vacancy at Bluefin. Bluefin is an independent insurance broker with 1600 people and 50 branches. It's part of the AXA group and has only been around for about three years so it feels quite new.
The Apprenticeship programme includes on-the-job learning with formal study and I'll soon have a Certificate of the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) and an NVQ in Retail Financial Services which is great because I think it's increasingly important to have formal qualifications in an increasingly competitive job market. Bluefin give me study leave and I also get my exam fees paid. I also have an appointed mentor from our training provider, Skills Solutions.
Over a hundred of us have been on the Apprenticeship programme at Bluefin. It's been really motivating because it makes us feel like they care about our development and that we really have something to offer to the company. Insurance is a highly regulated environment and companies are required to demonstrate that they have competent staff so as well as being able to do our jobs, it looks good if we have certificates to back it up.
I like working at Bluefin and so far I'm really pleased with my career progress. I am planning to get further CII qualifications, maybe even as high as a Fellowship!
I love working in the City! There's a real buzz about the place and the social life is great too. I think there's plenty of opportunity here at Bluefin because we are part of the AXA group. It's up to me now really. I'm really proud of what I've achieved so far.