What's it like being an apprentice with a global company? Sam explains... #NAW2018

Sam Eustace is an apprentice with global insurance giant, Zurich - she wrote to us about her choices and her ambitions for the future.

Forge your own pathway in whatever it may be. Don’t always follow the trends. Believe in yourself and your aspirations.
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When deciding what to do with my life and my career, I didn't know what my exact role would be but I knew I  wanted to lead and build a career that I could be proud of and inspire others to forge their own career pathways. I have never been one to follow the societal norms.

Deciding to take an apprenticeship was a huge deal for me. I left sixth form after a year because I decided I wanted to do more and learn more than could be taught in a classroom.

Zurich was a name I recognised, even though I didn’t know much about insurance.  I started my professional working life as an apprentice in 2015 - in the largest financial service district in the world. 

Was I scared I'd be eaten alive by a corporate giant? Yes. Did I think I'd be lost in a sea of 'numbers' otherwise known as employees? Yes. Did I think this would completely change my life? Absolutely not. 

I envisaged the work environment being this scary world where no one socialised and you had to separate your "work-self" and your "personal-self". Yet I’m part of a team full of amazing professionals who are friends, mentors, coaches and supporters - all with a sense of humour and ability to be themselves.

I began my apprenticeship with Zurich in an Underwriting and Operations role for our Global Commercial lines of business. I learnt a lot about the London, UK and International insurance culture and markets. I’m now part of the Corporate Affairs team and share my commercial knowledge with them.

In 2016 I was awarded Apprentice of the Year proving that hard work, drive, passion and a willingness to challenge yourself and others is rewarded.

When people think apprenticeship, they think "earn whilst you learn" which is incredibly true. But earning, I have quickly learnt, is so much more than money. As well as a nice reward package, there are other things which are not on the job spec and application.  Flexible working; control over when and where I work. Social committees; getting involved with like-minded individuals about topical issues I care about. Education; being able to learn new things, sponsored by the workplace. Skill-share; being around individuals and learning from their experience. 

A career in insurance has so much to offer. I saw the opportunities for technological, cultural, inclusion and diversity development. Based on this, I’ve made my career focus around changing these factors for the greater good. Being an apprentice in a large company gives you the opportunity to do this.

Apprenticeships are growing faster than imagined and in two years I've seen more and more companies take on school leavers.  Why take the ‘conventional’ option if it is not essential to your career pathway. A job is a huge part of your life, why not do something you can make enjoyable!

Forge your own pathway in whatever it may be. Don’t always follow the trends. Believe in yourself and your aspirations.

Sam Eustace