Engage with Education: Opening doors to the insurance industry banner

19 April 2021

Engage with Education: Opening doors to the insurance industry

As part of Engage with Education, where Company members offer their experience, expertise or opportunities to students from the Company's associated schools, Merchant Taylors' Company partnered with insurance broker New Dawn Risk for a new internship programme. Led by Liveryman Max Carter, CEO of New Dawn Risk, the six-week long initiative offered insight into the world of insurance broking as well as the chance to informally learn of the range of possibilities within the industry.

New Dawn Risk plans to continue this internship in future years and Merchant Taylors' hopes to extend the series of careers insight programmes it offers students, through programmes like the successful Aspiring Medics.

The Lloyd’s insurance market is well known, but often misunderstood. The insurance industry tends to be overlooked by many young people thinking about the world of work, primarily because they are unfamiliar with the industry and the career opportunities it has to offer. New Dawn Risk, a specialist insurance broker working in the London insurance market, has recently looked to change this, and has just completed its first ever virtual internship programme, introducing sixth form students into this field.

The six-week long online programme offered 15 students from Wallingford School in Oxfordshire, The Coopers’ Company and Coborn School in Havering and St Saviour’s & St Olave’s Church of England School in Southwark a glimpse into the workings of the London market.

The insurance industry has historically been criticised for its lack of diversity at all levels. Recognising that the key to making long-term changes in the sector starts at grassroots level, New Dawn Risk partnered with the Merchant Taylors’ Company to recruit students from backgrounds typically underrepresented within the London market. 

City of London road with skyscrapers imposing along skyline and traffic in foreground. Image is dark and taken in evening dusk

Liveryman Max Carter, New Dawn Risk’s CEO, says: “Our aim for the programme is to connect with kids who wouldn’t normally consider, or even be aware of, career opportunities in the insurance industry.

We want to showcase the industry at its best and at the same time expand the talent pool from which we can recruit.

The carefully planned internship included six hour-long sessions, held every Wednesday evening. The sessions, hosted via Zoom, took the form of a live chat and encouraged a casual interaction between the students and the speaker.

Each week a new topic was led by an industry expert, with sessions showcasing all aspects of the London market. In her Introduction to Underwriting, Nicky Stokes, Head of Management Liability and Financial Institutions at New Dawn Risk, explored the processes and challenges of underwriting. Nicky discussed her own experiences within the insurance industry, working both as an underwriter and a broker.

Another session was led by recent graduate broker Jonathan Franke. A fresh face in the industry, Jonathan spoke more broadly about university and his pathway into insurance, specifically the cyber sector. Providing the students with more insight into the pivot from university to career, Jonathan was able to answer the students’ wider questions about life after school.

A dark water bottle, a laptop and a leafy pot plant are in the foreground on a brown wood desk. Out the window there are houses in the background

Rory, one of the students on the course, thoroughly enjoyed each session. The Wallingford student said: “This course was a huge learning curve. I had never considered insurance before this internship, but now I am excited to research the broader roles available in the industry.”

The internship itself is the brainchild of Amelia Acreman, Claims Associate at New Dawn Risk. Amelia’s own challenges in navigating the transition between school and career are what inspired the development of the programme.

She said: “We wanted to give students the first building block as they start to think about job applications. The marketplace is unbelievably competitive, students often need work experience to get work experience. It is a catch-22, with students who don’t have existing connections in the industry often being the ones to miss out.

Whilst in the sixth form, I was fortunate enough to be given an opportunity that got my foot on the ladder and helped me get to the position I am in today.

Amelia added: “The person who offered me that work experience asked me to pass on the favour one day – this course is about me doing exactly that.” 

Responses from the students were hugely positive. Lily, sixth form student at Coopers said: “This course has taught me all the different roles within insurance, and the difference between brokers and underwriters.”

She added: “As I start to apply to jobs after school, I am definitely going to research apprenticeship opportunities within the insurance industry.”

With the initial run proving such a success, plans for the next internship programme are already underway. New Dawn Risk will run the internship annually for 16 and 17-year-old students. Current year 11 students interested in this opportunity should register their interest with their school contact by November 2021, ready for a programme that starts in February 2022.

Heads of Sixth Forms, or enrichment leads, can contact Jane Hindle at education@merchant-taylors.co.uk to be connected with New Dawn Risk and receive more information about the programme this autumn.

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