Becoming an apprentice kickstarts a career within the finance sector

Abbey Oakes

Becoming an apprentice enabled Abbey Oakes to start a career within the finance sector - Credit: Abbey Oakes

Becoming an apprentice has enabled a Norfolk woman to follow her passion for economics and start a career within the finance industry. 

Although Abbey Oakes left education with A-Levels in economics, sociology and fashion design, she decided that university wasn't the right option as it wouldn't give her the opportunity to gain both qualifications and experience as she learnt. 

Instead she decided to join insurance firm Marsh as an insurance practitioner level 3 apprentice. 

Ms Oakes said: "From completing my A-Levels I felt that I had a particular interest in economics and wanted to explore pathways that related to the financial sector.

"I felt that the apprenticeship Marsh offered was a perfect choice for me to specialise and develop into a stable profession that presented many opportunities which would allow me to develop and progress."

Marsh is a global insurance broker firm that employs thousands of staff at its Norwich office. The company offers a wide range of services and Ms Oakes joined a team that deals with clients looking for insurance to cover financial and professional cover. 

She explained: "Within my role as client manager it is my job to liaise with brokers in order to produce contract documentation, such as market reform contracts and tax schedules that are placed in the market to be agreed by insurers, as well as collaborating to complete or solve any other tasks or queries.

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"From the apprenticeship so far I have developed an understanding of the insurance market and how business is conducted within Marsh, as well as working towards gaining my certificate in insurance from the Chartered Insurance Institute, which is recognised across the industry."

For Ms Oakes the highlight of the scheme has been meeting with all the Marsh apprentices in London where they have been able to complete development and networking activities. 

Once she has completed the apprenticeship, she aims to remain within the company and develop her career. 

She said: "I hope to progress further within the business and experience different opportunities at Marsh, as well as moving onto completing a diploma in insurance."

Now on her way to fulfilling her ambition for a career within the finance sector, Ms Oakes believes having a "positive mindset" is important when starting an apprenticeship. 

"I would advise future apprentices to approach their role with a positive mindset and be self-motivated to continue learning and developing even when it becomes challenging," she said. 

"It is also vital to get to know your team as they will be there to support and guide you throughout your apprenticeship." 

Finding an apprenticeship 

Apprenticeship are available to people of all ages and there are a wide range of opportunities in various sectors. 

Good places to search for a role include the apprenticeship section on the government's website, as well as local county council sites.  

Katy Dorman, apprenticeship strategy manager at Norfolk County Council, said: “We have been seeing record numbers of vacancies in Norfolk consistently for nearly a year now – with over 350 live vacancies across Norfolk most weeks. There isn’t a better time to start applying for an apprenticeship opportunity – no matter what your age, area of interest or apprenticeship level – there is plenty to choose from.

“Check out the ‘Apprenticeships Norfolk' Facebook and Instagram pages where local vacancies are advertised each week or log on to the ‘find an apprenticeship’ page on gov.uk where you can search and apply for vacancies too.

“Apprenticeships Norfolk also offer completely free and impartial guidance to individuals who don’t know where to start.”