National Apprenticeship Week - Congratulations to Annabelle Barnes who recently graduated from our 3 year Apprenticeship Programme

What better week than National Apprenticeship Week to announce that Annabelle Barnes, one of our Commercial Underwriters, recently graduated from our 3 year Apprenticeship Programme with a Diploma in Insurance!

Here at ICCI we are huge supporters of an apprenticeship scheme. It's a fabulous opportunity for someone starting their career to earn as they learn, on our fast-track programme, to gain nationally recognised qualifications. Mark Marshall, the Managing Director of Insurance Corporation, said...

Annabelle is the first apprentice to come through our programme and she has been outstanding. What she has managed to achieve in these three years is testament to her hard work and dedication, as well as the benefits of being on our scheme. I'm really proud of her achievements, and what she will undoubtedly achieve in her career to come.

We caught up with Annabelle to hear all about her experience on the programme...

Congratulations on completing our 3 year Apprenticeship Programme! What are some key takeaways from your time here at ICCI so far?

Having completed my 3 year apprenticeship recently, I’ve had a jump start in my career in insurance. An apprenticeship with ICCI supported me to complete professional qualifications and understand the wider business beyond my day-to-day underwriting. Having this understanding allows me to see where my role fits into the company and has given me confidence to make decisions as I have the rationale to support them.

How do you see this apprenticeship contributing to your long-term career goals?

I have always been driven to find a career which gives a clear path of progression and allows me to complete qualifications. Having first completed the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) Certificate in Insurance, I gained a well-rounded understanding of insurance in the first year of my career. This wider understanding of the business could have taken 2-3 years to achieve without the motivation of the apprenticeship and so it put me ahead early on in my career.

Following this, I moved on to study towards the Diploma in Insurance. This was an in-depth look into 2 compulsory units:  insurance law and business finance. These were followed by 2 chosen modules where I could specialise in my interests, liability insurances and underwriting practice. This opportunity for professional development allowed me to consider the different roles in insurance companies and where I might see myself in 5, 10 and 15 years. Having particularly enjoyed the business finance module of my Diploma, I am interested in seeing how I can incorporate the knowledge it gave me into my future career. 

What specific opportunities has the apprenticeship provided in comparison to traditional education routes?

After I finished my A-levels and left school, I was excited to take the opportunity to leave the island and go to university to study music in Bath. I then did a Postgraduate Certificate in Education in London. Moving away gave me independence and grew my self-confidence, as well as broadening my experiences beyond Guernsey. I developed my communication skills and critical thinking which has allowed me to thrive in my apprenticeship.

Deciding to come back to the island, following the lockdown in 2020, I looked at jobs with a clear path to success. This apprenticeship was an opportunity for me to go into a finance career without feeling like I was starting from scratch with no clear direction.

This apprenticeship provided incremental stages of development and allowed me to earn an income while learning. Similarly to a degree, you have to spend time learning around the subject you’re studying in addition to lectures and in the case of an apprenticeship this studying is on top of your day-to-day job.

The Certificate in Insurance is an average of 160 hours of study time with 3 multiple choice exams and the Diploma is 480 hours with 4 exams and 4 coursework assessments. The Diploma is more equivalent to degree standard with coursework of 10,000 words each and further reading and referencing work required outside of the study text provided. Due to being on the Apprentice programme I was allowed 21 hours of study leave for my certificate and 84 hours of study leave for my diploma. This was a helpful way to get a better work life balance whilst doing qualifications and earning a salary.

Can you share a memorable experience or achievement from your time as an apprentice here?

My greatest achievement was completing my Diploma in Insurance. It took a lot of motivation to keep on track with my study plan and to achieve this is something I am very proud of. My colleagues have been a great support system for this work, as many have done the same qualifications and so were able to provide helpful tips and tricks to tackle the coursework and exams. A great opportunity to celebrate my achievements was the Insurance Institute of Guernsey’s (IIG) Annual Dinner. In 2022 I’d achieved my Certificate in Insurance, and this past year I passed one of my exams the day of the dinner, which was a very memorable way to celebrate!

Do you have any advice for people looking to do an apprenticeship with us or looking to take up a career in insurance?

I would recommend anyone considering a job in insurance to look into all the different areas of the insurance industry as there is likely a lot more going on in the business than you’d first expect. I’ve found that a career in commercial underwriting has been a perfect fit for me as it allows me to be analytical in reviewing a wide of range of trades and businesses, making each day different. Through the apprenticeship I have been supported by ICCI to achieve my goals and have been put in a strong position to meet my next career goals.

Sarah Beatty, our Commercial Director said...

What Annabelle has achieved over the 3 years on our apprentice scheme has been incredible.  Our scheme offers apprentices the opportunity to grow and develop their knowledge, experience, and professional qualifications at a fast-tracked pace, all fully supported by our business and team.  Annabelle grasped the opportunity with both hands, to ensure she achieved everything the programme had to offer.  Her hard work and commitment over the period have paid off and we could not be prouder of the career progression and qualifications she has achieved.

Congratulations, Annabelle.  Thank you for your dedication to the programme and for being our first graduate!”

Congratulations Annabelle from all the team at ICCI!