Apprenticeships give you the skills employers want - I feel like I've had a head start

To mark National Apprenticeships Week, Adam Hodgkiess, an apprentice Underwriter in our Commercial Lines business, discusses his journey into the profession and his role at RSA.

Like others, after finishing my A levels, I was faced with the big question (and even bigger answer), what do I do now?  My studies had me thinking about a degree in engineering or physics but was that something that I wanted to do with the rest of my life?

I needed to think long and hard about my future. At school I did work experience at an accountancy firm and really enjoyed it. Maybe that was the path for me?  I came across a charity called Leadership through Sport & Business (LTSB), which help people land apprenticeships with major firms. 

I was unsure what I wanted to do

LTSB put me through my Association of Accounting Technicians qualifications and provided training that set me up for an apprenticeship. Part of the programme involved Manchester City’s, City in the Community scheme, which included development and leadership training sessions.

While I was considering a career as an accountant, LTSB were approached by RSA looking for an apprentice underwriter. After taking part in an assessment day, RSA offered me the role but still unsure about what I wanted to do, I turned the position down.

Despite saying no, I was offered me the chance to come in and spend a day with the team in Manchester. I was able to see what working at RSA would be like and understanding what it actually means to be an underwriter.  Like anyone who doesn’t work in the industry I wasn’t sure that insurance would be for me. I thought I would be crunching numbers but underwriting includes critical thinking and no two days are the same.

I learn everyday and work towards my industry qualifications

I was finally sure where my future lay. I joined the business last August and have been settling in to my role in the commercial lines team. My job is to analyse risk but I also get to meet brokers, visiting clients on site and conducting surveys.  

I can’t speak more highly of apprenticeships. I am learning every day, working towards my industry qualifications and I earn a salary at the same time.  While apprenticeships give you the skills employers want, I also feel I have a head start over people who went to university instead.

If someone had told me when I finished 6th Form this is what I’d be doing now, I wouldn’t have believed them. I’m grateful to both LTSB and RSA for both investing in me and giving me the chance to succeed. I’m now an LTSB ambassador and if I can inspire and give direction to one person who faced the same dilemma as me, I’d be happy with that.

For more information on apprenticeships at RSA, please visit: https://www.rsagroup.com/careers/early-careers/apprenticeships/