AN INSURANCE services firm has partnered with South Eastern Regional College (SERC) to deliver a workbased learning programme in a bid to build the management skills of students and open a pathway to employment within the sector.
Willis Insurance & Risk Management, which delivers insurance services across all sectors, in addition to a range of wealth management, accident investigation, health and safety, and employment law services, has employed two students at its Belfast headquarters with a third to start later this year.
Owen Finnegan, a law graduate from Camlough, and Belfast modern languages graduate Maeve McKavanagh are working at the company as Business Support Executives as part of SERC’s Entry to Management graduate programme, funded by the Department for the Economy, which allows students to continue their studies while developing business leadership skills in a workplace setting along the way.
Richard Willis, Managing Director, Willis Insurance & Risk Management said the initiative provides an important route into a growing industry.
He said: “There is no degree qualification or set route into the insurance industry at present. That means people can incorrectly assume they are not qualified or believe it is a difficult industry to get into. That is not the case. It is a growing sector which offers significant opportunities to ambitious graduates.
“Our relationship with SERC helps us to recruit students who share the drive and ambition of Willis IRM to deliver the best advice and highest levels of service to our clients.”
The placements at Willis IRM last 24 weeks and follow similar initiatives that have resulted in students moving into full-time employment with the business.
Throughout the period, the students attend SERC on a weekly basis to continue their studies.
SERC Leadership and Management Consultant Jenny McConnell, who leads the programme said: “We are delighted to have formed a partnership with Willis Insurance & Risk Management.
“By taking part in the programme, the company is leading the way in improving workplace opportunities across the sectors and especially in insurance and risk management.
“Other business that have signed up to the programme are already seeing real tangible outcomes. It allows them to target the right talent to suit their company and raises up a new generation of leaders to contribute to their future growth.”