Students take step towards insurance careers
A training programme aimed at helping school pupils on to the career ladder in the insurance and reinsurance industry has taken off.
Pupils at the Island’s two senior schools, the Berkeley Institute and CedarBridge Academy, are taking part in the industry-backed Careers Pathways scheme designed to give them the inside track on careers in high finance.
Education Minister Wayne Scott yesterday met six students aiming to achieve Associate in General Insurance (AINS) status before they leave school.
The programme involves a series of exams and work placements in the world of work, offering students exposure to the industry and the chance to make contacts for the future.
CedarBridge Academy pupil Niambi Landy, 18, from Warwick, said her stint at Oil Insurance had reinforced her desire to qualify an accountant.
She added: “Going to Oil Insurance and meeting all the different people and getting a feel for what it does, instead of just seeing what one person does, was good.
“I got to see all the different careers that insurance has to offer.”
Breanna West, a Berkeley pupil, said she had been in the programme for two years.
The 18-year-old from Pembroke said: “You get to learn a lot about insurance — I actually changed my mind from accounting to insurance because of this — I want to be a broker in insurance.”
She added: “What I enjoyed most is that people from the insurance companies come and talk about their experiences and what their job is like.”
And she said she had enjoyed her secondments to reinsurance firm Ariel because she “leaned about different aspects of the insurance field.”
Kenszo Iris, 17, a Berkeley pupil from Warwick, added: “This has introduced me to an insurance world I’d never seen before.
“It introduced me to learning and self-learning, which helped me with my studies at school.”
He added that he planned to study at the Jamaican University of Technology, concentrating on finance and risk management.”
“This course helped me meet underwriters and get in contact and I was able to expand my knowledge. I really like underwriting and I want to go into that field.”
Fellow Berkeley pupil Jordan Payne, 17, of Sandys, added: “It’s been a challenge having to self-study — it’s definitely something new.
“I’d like to be an underwriter and I’ve got a better understanding of it from the course.”
Jahstice Trott, 16, from Southampton, who is a pupil at CedarBridge, has just started the three year programme.
She said: “I’m excited about the opportunity and I hope to get positive results. I want to be an accountant when I leave school.
“Being able to get my associate’s this early is good — I’ll get it before I leave school. It’s exciting to be ahead of everyone else.”
Berkeley pupil Imani Smith, 16, from Smith’s, is counting on qualifying as an actuary — and reckons the course will give the edge.
She said: “I felt it would give me an advantage when applying for scholarships, university and jobs. I’m really grateful I’ve been given this opportunity. I want to be an actuary, so this is very beneficial and starts me in the right direction.”
The three-year Career Pathways programme, run by the Department of Education with private sector partners, also includes certification as nurse’s aides, an automotive certification and the City & Guilds employability skills course, with more than 250 pupils involved.
Dr Radell Tankard, of the Department of Education, developed the Career Pathways programme and has run it since it was launched in 2012. He said the insurance qualification, the latest to launch, was backed by the Bermuda Insurance Institute (BII), while overall the programme has more than 50 industry partners.
He added: “These are some of the high flyers — this is a rigorous programme and they all function at a high level in their class.
“We want to assist students in gaining certification in addition to their high school diploma.
“We’re trying to prepare the students for the workplace.”
BII CEO Dr Dawnnelle Walker said: “They will all leave school with a designation which is marketable to the industry and it will differentiate them from their peers. It’s very beneficial for them.”
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