Explore the routes into Financial Services

posted by on 16 Aug 2017

Considering a career in financial services? There are plenty of ways for those leaving school, college or university to get started in the industry, but which works best for you? Whether you want to take some time out after school, head straight to university or jump into one of our apprenticeship programmes – there are many ways to take your next career step. So, which will you choose?

Apprenticeships

Undertaking an apprenticeship is an excellent way to gain qualifications whilst working. Here at AXA, Apprenticeships are for anyone, at any stage of their career. So whether you’ve come straight from school, university or are looking for a career change later in life, our door is always open for talented, creative people. Undertaking an Apprenticeship will enable you to gain qualifications that are sought after in the finance industry, whilst earning money and learning on the job. It’s also a great way to get your foot in the door at AXA; impress us during your apprenticeship and you could develop a great career with us. Click here to find out more about our apprenticeship opportunities.

Go to University

Going to University opens up a whole host of routes into the financial services industry. After completing your undergraduate degree, you could further your education by undertaking a Master’s degree which will further your knowledge and make you even more sought after by future employers. After your Master’s, you could then decide to continue your education and become a Financial Services academic – a varied job which will include teaching, liaising with industry and conducting research into key topics. Or, if you decide you’ve had enough of studying and want to dive straight into the workplace once you finish your undergraduate degree, you can get stuck into your career, develop yourself further within our frequently run graduate programmes at AXA. Here, you’ll develop your working knowledge, improve your skills and have the chance to really make an impact on the future of our business.

Start working right away

If you’ve had enough of studying and want to jump straight in to your first job instead, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to start you career path at AXA. Joining us in an entry level role and working your way up over time is a completely legitimate way to climb the career ladder – and there’ll always be the opportunity for you to join one of our apprenticeship programs later on if you decide to.

Take a gap year

Maybe the thought of heading straight back into education or kick-starting your career is hard to swallow right now. That’s understandable – you’ve worked hard and deserve a break. Why not take some time out to go and explore the world? You’ll gain a whole host of life experience that will prove invaluable later in life and you can always go to University or start an apprenticeship after your gap year. If you choose this route, make the most of your time when you’re away by gaining some valuable work experience abroad – it’ll help you build your confidence and give you something interesting to talk about in interviews when you return.

Whether you choose to join us straight from school, University, or after taking some time out; at AXA, we offer a variety of ways for those looking to step into the financial services sector. Head over here to find out more about our opportunities.

categories: Careers advice 

AXA Academy: Open, honest, sociable and supportive

posted by on 7 Aug 2017

We caught up with some of our latest Liability Claims Academy recruits to find out what they think about the culture here.

So, tell us, what’s the office environment like?

Jamil: It’s a professional environment, but at the same time there is a culture that AXA is really proud of, which is all to do with our values. Everyone is engaged with one another, you have groups of individuals but at the same time, you can approach anyone in the office no matter what level they’re at so even if they’re senior leaders you can still talk to them. Feedback is valued here whether it’s positive or constructive, it’s all taken in a really good way. Whatever feedback I’ve given so far, I can see it’s been acted upon in the greatest of ways.

Amy: It’s almost as though there’s too many people to chat to, actually I struggled to work out who my mentor was because there were that many people eager to help you! It’s lots of fun too and friendly, so it’s really nice and refreshing.

Rebecca: It’s quite relaxed and fun in the office. It’s obviously a formal setting, but people are quite light-hearted with things, everybody likes to get involved with everything. You can be open, honest and speak to anyone in the office, even someone right at the top! So it’s really good and I’m really enjoying the openness.

Great! And what kind of support have you had through the training?

Rick: The training has been good. It’s been split up so I’ve learned while doing rather than looking at presentations. 50% is presentations but then on the flip side, 50% of it is actually doing the work itself. And we've got mentors who we can ask questions whenever we want and they have reduced caseloads so they're basically just there for our questions, which is useful. You don't ever feel like you're interrupting anyone’s work by asking a question. 

So, if you had to sum up the best thing about working in the Academy, what would that be?

Rebecca: It’s got to be the culture. Out of everywhere that I’ve worked, AXA’s culture has got to be the best. I think it’s very important that you can go into work and go up to anyone and ask them any question and like they’ll answer you straight away or they’ll take the time to help you with it. I’ve worked at some places where you feel like you can only go to your immediate manager and not above. Whereas here you can ask anyone anything. So the culture is a massive positive for me.

Amy: The culture here is about being the best you can be for yourself but also being your best for the other people. It’s a real team environment, everything you face, you do it together so you get everyone’s rewards together as well. Any recognition someone else gets is recognition for the Academy as well, it’s great.

Jamil: The relationships and companionship is the best thing! You come to work and there’s always someone you can talk to, always someone you can turn to. I always say to the other guys if there’s something on your mind, just pull me aside and we can have a heart-to-heart about it. There are other individuals that are the same and it makes a big difference knowing that you’ve got that second family. It makes me emotional when I think about it because to go from joining the company and not knowing a single one of them to then being in a position a few months later where you can talk to them openly about anything, whatever is going on, at work or outside of work, it makes a difference. It makes me smile when I get out of bed in the morning.

Thanks for your words of wisdom, team. If Amy, Jamil, Rebecca and Rick have inspired you, sign up for our job alerts to be the first to know when applications for our Bolton Liability Claims Academy open again later this year.  

categories: AXA people  Claims  Liability Claims Academy  Life at AXA 

3 top tips for working parents, by a working parent

posted by on 1 Aug 2017

Having been a working parent for over 27 years, you would have thought I’d be an expert at juggling working life and parenthood by now. But the truth is, there is truly no right way of managing both at the same time. That said, here are a few tips I’ve learnt over the years to help me manage my time better and make the most of both…

Drop the guilt

Don’t feel guilty for working hard, it doesn’t help anyone. And after all, we’re just trying to provide the best for our families, which sometimes means working hard both at home and at work. In the same breath, don’t feel guilty for downing tools and turning off your work phone, chances are that you have worked more than expected and achieved a lot during your working day. You shouldn’t feel guilty about making time for yourself and for your family – I'm only in the position I'm in due to the relationship I have with my wife.

Plan ahead

Everything can be achieved but you cannot achieve everything at once… Choose the moments in your family life that you must attend and make time for those events. If I plan ahead and get important family moments in the calendar, then more often than not, I can attend those events. We have recently created a Family shared calendar (Google) which has allowed both my partner and I to add in those important dates, and therefore help me plan better. At work, the quality of your work will always be more important than the quantity of your work. Work smart with others to complete those tasks, your sanity is worth more than trying to please everyone. It’s better to achieve 80% on time rather than 100% late for you as a parent and within AXA. Create boundaries that separate your working life and home life. Everyone, including your employer, will benefit from this.

Emails and agile working

As a training manager, I challenge co-workers to set up a rule on their Outlook to automatically move any emails they have been copied into to a separate Cc: folder. These emails, I argue, are for your information and not for your direct action and can be read later. This is a brave move and may not suit everyone – I can only say that it’s worked for me and allows me to concentrate on which tasks must be completed rather than spending all my time sifting through those that might require action. AXA empowers us to work where, when and how we choose. Obviously, this depends on individual job roles, infrastructure (IT) locations and personal circumstances, and will not suit everyone, however, asking for flexible working and planning your time will allow better results at work and better home life.

I feel that I have never really achieved the perfect goal of work life balance. But learning from your experiences and doing your best is always going to be the answer in the end.

Martin Furminger, proud parent and Global Training Manager at AXA

categories: AXA people  Careers advice  Employee story  Working Parents 

How AXA helps me balance my career and my family

posted by on 26 Jul 2017

Finding the right balance between your career and being a parent can be a challenge, especially when it feels like work and home life are pulling you in opposite directions. So we asked Business Analyst and dad of one, Matthew Brown, to share his insight into how he’s found the right balance at AXA.

Thumbnail profile picture of Matthew Brown

I joined AXA in 2016 after spending 12 years in the civil service. Aside from working in a different industry with its own complexities and ambitions to improve and evolve, my role as a Business Analyst at AXA isn’t too dissimilar to my previous job in that it’s still a fairly demanding role with a variety of priorities to juggle and tight deadlines to meet. Wanting to give the role my very best and also spend that quality time with my daughter as she grows up is a challenge I think a lot of parents can relate to.

Here are three ways working at AXA allows me to maintain a healthy work-life balance:

  1. Being able to plan your work (and negotiate deadlines)
    This is a big one as some roles don’t naturally lend themselves to this way of working. But in my experience, if a project has clear deliverables, or if your manager has a good understanding of what you need to have completed by when, then it is possible as long as you are disciplined and can manage your time to meet any deadlines set. I once ran the office of a senior leader, and we made it work and all worked very flexibly.

  2. Being prepared to be available/work when needed
    The work needs to be done at some point, so I have found myself logging on outside of traditional work hours to get the job done. That might not seem ideal to some people, but it means that I’m able to drop-off and pick-up my daughter from child care, spending time with her and maintaining a full-time role. When my daughter was a baby I used to leave early to get home for bath-time, then work remotely in the evenings once she was asleep.

  3. Being able to do your job remotely
    With the level of technology available to us now, it’s never been easier to work remotely. I use my own laptop with a token so I can access what I need from home and complete a large portion of tasks I wouldn’t otherwise be able to do in the office – I even attend meetings virtually. Not everyone can work remotely, there have to be security considerations when colleagues have access to certain levels of data and systems which require them to operate in a more controlled environment, or due to shift work, etc.

Some teams will naturally be more flexible than others, but we should share our experiences to make every team as flexible as possible, and that’s where AXA’s Working Families Employee Resourcing Group (ERG) plays a big part. The Working Families group provides support for parents – whether you’re a father, mother, step-parent, adoptive parent, a primary carer, or a single parent – and allows us to have those open and honest conversations with colleagues about what their options are, to help everyone be a professional and a parent.

categories: Careers advice  Employee story  Life at AXA  Wellbeing at AXA  Working Parents 

Taking Pride in our diversity

posted by on 12 Jul 2017

Image of Mark Shields smiling at the cameraMark Shields, Relationship Manager and Chair of AXA Pride UK, explains why Pride is so important to AXA and why you should always be able to bring your whole self to work.

People perform better when they can be themselves. And making sure everyone feels fully included in their work place helps to make sure they reach their full potential. That’s why Pride is taken so seriously here at AXA. It’s not an afterthought or a tick in a box. It’s a commitment to embracing everyone across our business and making them feel supported, welcome and included – regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Mark Shields joined AXA nine years ago as a Team Leader in our Ipswich office. He found it to be one of the most open places he’s ever worked in. “You’re always a bit worried when you start a new job, but I was put at ease very quickly – everyone was open and honest and it was a really diverse office,” says Mark. “And as I’ve moved and progressed through different jobs, I’ve never had any issues – my sexuality has never been discussed, there haven’t been any odd looks or feelings. It’s really inclusive here.”

A passion for Pride

Mark’s now a Relationship Manager for AXA Insurance, which means the majority of his work is focused on external partners. But, he joined the AXA Pride UK Employer Resource Group (ERG) three years ago, working closely with the then Chair, Michelle. He was quickly made into a Co-Chair and when Michelle left, it was a natural progression for him to move into the role. “For me, this role is a passion, not a chore. While the group has been around for the past three or four years, it’s slowly been building in size and importance. The openness here is amazing – people really feel like they can be themselves – you don’t have to lie about your sexuality or the relationship you’re in. It’s also great that we’ve had support from senior people across the business, which means there’s an increasing acceptance across the business.”

Image of AXA employees at Pride, smiling at the camera in front of an AXA Pride UK branded open top bus

For the past few years, AXA has taken part in the London Pride parade, but this year the company was one of the sponsors, which was the source of lots of excitement across the business. On Saturday 9th July, over 100 people from AXA wore AXA Pride UK t-shirts and rode an open top bus, giving out lots of freebies, including flags, Frisbees and badges. “It is so great to see AXA supporting Pride,” says Mark. “My fondest memory was when we walked down the parade route and they announced company names – people were pretty surprised to hear AXA! I heard people saying ‘I have my insurance with them!’ It’s great that a company like AXA is getting involved. It challenges people’s perception of you as an employer and it’s great that we’re changing opinions in a really positive way, it shows that we’re an inclusive employer and that you can be yourself at AXA.”

Mark (right) and colleague at Pride in London with rainbow flag in the background

Just the beginning

For Mark, being part of AXA Pride UK ERG is fantastic because it’s given him a huge amount of facetime with people across the business and opened new doors, both professionally and personally. His aim for the ERG is to have representatives in each office across AXA in the UK. “We need to make sure that we touch every entity and look at how we can offer further support across the business. We’re doing a lot, but we’re just at the tip of the iceberg! We’re looking at the market and seeing what other companies are doing and we know there’s so much more we can do here,” says Mark. “We also recognise that other companies can learn from us and the journey that we’ve come on. We’re always looking at what we can do next, not only in the working environment, but in the local community, too.”

AXA Pride UK logo

categories: AXA and the community  AXA people  AXA Pride  Employee story  Life at AXA