National Apprenticeship Week is an annual celebration of the positive impact apprenticeships have on individuals, employers and the economy.
The theme of this year’s event is ‘Blaze a Trail’ – recognising how apprenticeships can help individuals prepare for roles or new career opportunities, as career starter or as an experienced professional.
At Allianz, we currently have 100 employees actively studying on a number of apprenticeship schemes across our business – including underwriting, finance, IT and cyber security.
We spoke to Claire Middleton, Foundation Business Analyst, to find out more about her experience:
What apprenticeship scheme are you on at Allianz?
I’m a Foundation Business Analyst in the Business Change team here at Allianz and am currently undertaking an 18 month Apprenticeship in Business Analysis. I joined the scheme in June last year, so am about half way through now!
How did you hear about the apprenticeship scheme at Allianz?
The scheme was first introduced to me by the BA managers in our team, who put forward the idea of joining the scheme as a way of gaining accelerated technical training early on in my career. Although I had heard of apprenticeships being offered at Allianz, it wasn’t a route of training that I had really considered for myself as I am a university graduate and didn’t know that I could use an apprenticeship as a way of gaining experience and valuable training as a BA.
What types of activities are you involved in?
There are numerous different activities that make up the apprenticeship scheme - 20% of my time at work is formally allocated to it, so I have plenty of time to ensure I am getting the most benefit possible from these activities! Firstly, there is a training course once every quarter, run by the apprenticeship training provider for this scheme, AssistKD. These are usually 3 day courses (with a 1 hour exam on day 3) on a subject within Business Analysis, and are really beneficial for gaining formal learning and helpful reference materials. As an apprentice, I have access to the online training materials 3 months in advance of the course, which is also very useful for extra reading! For our scheme, the modules completed on the training courses run across both the BA apprenticeship and BA diploma, so it will be great to have already achieved these certificates should I go on to further learning in the future.
Secondly, our cohort of apprentices has an assigned external mentor, who makes regular visits to the office to provide additional training at both a group and 1-2-1 level. I submit a Learning log on a weekly basis for her to review and use to monitor my progress; this seemed like a lot of writing at the beginning but soon turned in to a helpful way for me to track my work and experiences as a BA.
Finally, I am in the process of completing a portfolio of my work that will be used in the final assessment stage as evidence of my professional and interpersonal skills, and as a demonstration of the experiences I have gained throughout the 18 month process. I’m sure I’ll feel very accomplished when the portfolio is complete and I can see everything that I have achieved in that time!
What’s been the most valuable experience you’ve gained?
Having our external mentor is a really valuable part of the apprenticeship scheme. Not only does she provide support for the apprenticeship tasks and modules, she also has a wealth of experience in the Business Analysis field which she is always willing to share with us. Having this insight into someone’s BA experiences outside of Allianz really adds another dimension to the scheme and benefits me in a way I could not have foreseen when I started on it.
I also really enjoy the courses as they are not only a great way to gain a qualification, but they are also public courses run for anyone wishing to complete one of the apprenticeship/diploma modules. This has been a fantastic way of networking with other BAs from different companies and at different levels of experience, and has opened my eyes to the uses of Business Analysis, as well as all the different ways it can be done!
What would you say to someone considering an apprenticeship?
Overall I have found the apprenticeship to be a fantastic experience so far and would definitely recommend to anyone considering the scheme to take the opportunity! Having the exposure to formal training courses, online resources and external mentoring and advice really provides a well-rounded training experience. If I am honest, I will say that there can be challenges when balancing study time and your day-to-day workload, and you definitely get out what you put in, however overall I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone looking for fast-track, thorough training early on in their career!