I was overwhelmed to be chosen as Apprentice of the Year. It was a great experience and a really good night!

Samantha Eustace, 19, Assistant Underwriting Services Specialist at Zurich, Level 3 Providing Financial Services Apprentice

“I was overwhelmed to be chosen as Apprentice of the Year. It was a great experience and a really good night!”

Samantha Eustace, 19, is an Assistant Underwriting Services Specialist at Zurich and is doing her Level 3 Providing Financial Services Apprenticeship. In November, she won Apprentice of the Year at Apprenticeship Live 2016.

Apprenticeship Live was formed by the Insurance Times in partnership with the CII to promote apprenticeships in insurance. They hosted 1-day events around the country in Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol and London.

I was overwhelmed to be chosen as Apprentice of the Year.

I was lucky enough to be able to take part in Apprenticeship Live. HR had suggested that I attend so I went to the regionals in London and there were talks from the Insurance Times, the CII and ex-apprentices. In the afternoon, we had to do a group challenge which involved doing a presentation with my team. We were assessed individually and I was picked to go through to the finals.

There were 11 of us in the final

The finals were made up of a workshop about public speaking, a talk from the CII chairman and working in groups to take part in a debate. There were 3 groups taking part and the topic for my group was on ‘Millennials and the Insurance Industry’ – my group won. We also had to be able to answer any questions at the end of the debate from a panel of judges. From there I was chosen as Apprentice of the Year – it was a great experience and a really good night. I was so happy to be chosen.

I’m thankful for my apprenticeship as it has given me opportunities like this

I wasn’t interested in going to university so I didn’t apply for anywhere. I was looking at doing something different and I knew that I liked business, which is a very broad sector so I looked into my options within that area. I got in contact with BPP and they put me forward for an interview at Zurich.

I didn’t know you could get a professional qualification

I was inspired to do an apprenticeship as my dad did one, but it was in a more manual sector, and I wasn’t as aware that you could do an apprenticeship in a professional industry like accountancy or law. I think a lot of people have this misconception that apprenticeships are only in construction or hairdressing, but there are a lot more opportunities out there.

I feel like I’m a step ahead of the game

I chose an apprenticeship over university because I liked the idea of studying and working at the same time. It’s great to earn while you learn and get lots of experience.

It’s a challenge but definitely worth it

Apprenticeships are challenging – I’m working a full time job, studying for exams and completing my coursework so you have to learn how to juggle the workload. You put a lot of effort into your work as I think you want to prove to yourself that you can do it.

It’s great to be working in the city

I know its cliché, but I love the fact I’m earning a wage whilst working for a great company – plus I am gaining a Professional Qualification in Providing Financial Services. I’m also lucky to be working in the City. London is such a central hub for businesses, so I can learn a lot. Plus, being a part of a cohort is great too. There are five apprentices in my office and there are two of them on my team so we can really support one another.

I would definitely recommend an apprenticeship

Apprenticeships are different, and I think that’s great. I’m getting work experience with a top company and I think that apprenticeships are the way forward in the future. Although, the application and recruitment process is tough but I think it’s all worth it in the end.

I’m 19 and getting my career started

I’m getting a professional qualification that can take me anywhere. In the next few years, I’d like to progress into a managerial role but perhaps have a look at different areas and see if there’s anything that I really like. I also find BPP’s Soft Skill Sessions really helpful too in terms of building my skills and interacting with other apprentices.

I think apprenticeships are incredibly beneficial.

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