5 things you thought were true about apprenticeships

posted by on 16 May 2017

As an apprentice, you’ll just get stuck making coffee and doing the jobs that no-one else wants, right? Not at AXA. We’ve put genuine care into crafting quality apprenticeship development programmes that can be tailored to suit your individual skills and interests. But don’t just take it from us. We asked IT apprentice, Tom, to help us tackle some common misconceptions surrounding apprenticeships and tell us what life’s actually like as an AXA apprentice…

1. You don’t get to do anything exciting as an apprentice. You’re just there to make the tea and do the filing

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Tom: I actually get involved in some really exciting work here. I started in Testing where I got to experience what it’s like to be a full-time tester – that was really interesting. And I’m currently working on a project that’s like an independent investigation - we have a project goal and have to work out our own way to reach it – it’s really fun!

2. Only school-leavers do apprenticeships

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Tom: I joined AXA’s IT apprenticeship in October 2016 after completing my degree in Computer Games Design. Even though I already have a degree, what I learnt at University is very different to experiencing life as a tech professional. Here, I get to see how professional coding and testing practices actually work and gain invaluable hands-on experience whilst I learn. 

3. Apprenticeships are for people who don’t get the grades to go to university 

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Tom: I did go to University! I joined AXA’s IT Apprenticeship after graduating because it was a great way to gain further qualifications and real-life experience. Everyone leaves university and starts entry level roles, I wanted to continue to gain qualifications and get paid to do so!

4. You’ll probably get stuck doing something you hate

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Tom: AXA are keen to help you find where your interests lie by exposing you to various areas of the business. After your 1st year, you should have an understanding of which area you want to spend the next year developing your skills in. AXA enable you to pursue your passion – they want you to enjoy your work and encourage you to try new things. 

5. Apprenticeships aren’t very well paid

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Tom: My apprenticeship is actually surprisingly well-paid. I have friends from University who are earning less than me in their roles – and they’re not working towards gaining more qualifications. Don’t presume that all apprenticeships are badly paid – make sure you check the details first. 

So, there you have it – there’s more to our apprenticeships than you might expect. Intrigued? Head over to jobs.axa.co.uk/apprentices to find out more and apply.

categories: Apprentices  Life at AXA 

Kick starting your career in insurance with an Apprenticeship

posted by on 15 May 2017

At AXA, we believe that there is no better place to start your insurance career than with one of our Apprenticeship development programmes. As well as the opportunity to set your career on a well-defined path, you’ll be able to learn invaluable skills while you earn. We caught up with one of our first ever apprentices, Katie, to find out why the Apprenticeship Development Programme was the right choice for her.

University or an Apprenticeship? Making my decision

I’ve worked since I was 14, but I always found myself wanting more from where I worked. My school was really keen for me to go to university, and although I understand and appreciate the benefits of gaining a degree I was always more interested in the apprenticeship route. The opportunity to gain qualifications alongside real work experience really appealed to me but I encountered a lot of misconceptions. People assume apprenticeships are more of a vocational path but in reality, the right programme should offer personal development alongside a well-defined career. At 18, it’s very difficult to decide on what you want to do but I knew that becoming involved with such a diverse organisation would allow me to get a feel for what kind of work I enjoyed.

My Apprenticeship journey

I joined the programme as soon as I left college. A role became available 2 years after I started, so I finished my apprenticeship early and I’ve been a Business Analyst in IT for 16 months now. I was looking forward to being part of an organisation that enabled me to interact with people from different areas of the business. I’m a naturally sociable person, so I love being able to engage with people from across the country. I even get to work with people from AXA abroad! It’s all real work too – I take responsibility for my own tasks and contribute to complex and interesting projects. With that said, I am currently working on a project that will make sure our contact centres have the technology they need to run as efficiently as possible. Working with people from different areas of the business has helped me understand how different functions within our company operate and how they contribute to AXA’s success.

Supported to succeed

The professional relationships I have been able to build with AXA staff and external suppliers are so important. Thanks to the people around me investing time and effort into my development, I now have the confidence to overcome new challenges and apply what I have learnt to future projects. Due to my willingness to learn and ask questions, I’m now a valued member of the team. AXA have high expectations of their apprentices but if you work hard you can use your skills as I have to quickly become a valuable resource to the business. Without the programme, I don’t think I would have been able to gain real life experience in a fast paced commercial environment as quickly as I have – the huge support network within AXA has a large part to play in my success.

Are you considering an Apprenticeship?

If you’re looking for a new challenge with huge opportunities for your career development, then you should really consider joining AXA’s apprenticeship development programme. At 22, I already have 3 years professional experience while some of my friends have recently graduated and are struggling to start their careers. Thanks to the programme my career can take me anywhere – so if you’re interested in kick-starting your career with an apprenticeship like I have, take a look at our Apprenticeship page where you can find out more about which programmes are available in your area.

categories: Apprentices 

The importance of staying curious and always being open to learning

posted by on 15 May 2017

Tom Bailey, Senior Digital Learning Partner, gave us the lowdown on the importance of continuous learning and what’s happening across AXA to celebrate 2017’s Learning at Work Week.

At AXA, we’re passionate about personal development and believe it’s really important to continually learn. We want our people to be the very best they can be and work hard to support them so they continue to develop and grow, both personally and professionally

Learning at Work Week is an annual event organised by the Campaign for Learning. It aims to put a spotlight on the importance and benefits of learning and development.  It’s a great opportunity for us to raise awareness of this important area – so we’ve pulled out all the stops! Working with the Learning & Development team I’ve helped put a range of creative activities together for everyone at AXA across the UK to get involved with, and encourage them to think about their own learning and development.

Here’s what we’ll be focusing on this week:

  1. On Monday we’ll be uploading 500 brand new courses to our internal learning system for all our colleagues to explore – helping to ensure they have all the knowledge they need at their fingertips.
  2. Learning can take place at any time. So on Tuesday, we’ll be highlighting the benefits of opening our minds to new cultures and embracing diversity! You can learn all kinds of things from people from different backgrounds and mind sets – the more we can surround ourselves with people who can challenge our perspective, add a different point of view or counter opinion, the better.
  3. Learning to listen is a skill we can all work on, so on Wednesday, we’ll be focusing on learning through feedback – listening to what our customers and our colleagues have to say to help us improve.
  4. Helping others is just as important as helping yourself, so on Thursday, we’ll be promoting ways that our people can communicate better, to help share experiences and continue the learning circle.
  5. Staying up-to-date in our digital, fast-paced world isn’t easy. On Friday, it’s time to take a look at LinkedIn and how we can be using it to keep up with the latest industry updates.
  6. We’ll be challenging our people to go further on Saturday (literally). AXA is a global workforce, with lots of cultures around the world, and there’s no doubt that learning a language, or even some key phrases, will be appreciated. There’s a free app called DuoLingo that we’ll be encouraging our people to try. And even if it’s just learning the basics, it could help take you further – maybe on that holiday you’ve been planning, or impressing your colleagues during your next conference call?

At AXA, our people are what differentiate us from the competition and we’re excited to be able to support them in this way. To keep the momentum going, we’ll be sharing learner stories with our people throughout the week, be highlighting recommended courses each day to further their development, and will have a daily prize draw for those who share what they’ve learnt with us. Our aim is to help build a culture of learning - encouraging everyone to take part in Learning at Work Week and to keep their learning going throughout the year. Of course, I’ll be on hand with the Learning & Development team, to offer advice along the way.

categories: Development at AXA  Life at AXA 

AXA’s road to resilience

posted by on 8 May 2017

Here at AXA, resilience is more than just a buzzword. We know that our ability to recover from setbacks and deal with change plays a key role in our wellbeing, both at work and in our home lives – that’s why resilience is a trait we want to encourage and develop in everyone. In order to do this, AXA PPP healthcare launched #TRYit – a variety of initiatives focused on laying the foundations for resilience so we can set ourselves up to thrive. Who better to test it out than our employees? We’ve spent the last couple of months encouraging our people to join in to improve their day-to-day wellbeing. And it turns out, everyone was much keener to get involved and engage with the scheme than we’d expected!

First things first, what is resilience?

We define resilience as how we respond and react to the difficulties we come across every day, such as stress and confrontation. Our ability to deal with these situations, and adapt to them, can make all the difference to our mental and physical health, as well as our productivity. But don’t just take our word for it. Watch this short animation from AXA PPP healthcare’s Director of Psychological Services, Dr Mark Winwood, to find out more:

What are we doing at AXA to help our employees build their resilience?

Like any skill, resilience can be developed, it just takes some practice. We’ve been taking steps to support our people so they have access to this inner strength whenever they may need it. This includes encouraging them to take part in #TRYit – a campaign designed to help our people thrive at work. Led by experts at AXA PPP healthcare, over the last couple of months we’ve been supporting the #TRYit campaign across all AXA offices in the UK, encouraging our people to get involved. 

#TRYit consists of three, four-week challenges:

1. #CaffeineCurfew

Our #CaffeineCurfew saw employees ditch the caffeinated drinks after 2pm. We thought it would be challenging to get people involved in this one, but they were actually much keener than we expected! And soon they saw the difference that drinking less caffeine made to their lives – some reported that their energy levels increased and their sleeping habits improved. In fact, it made such an impact to some employees that they told us they wanted more non-caffeinated drinks in our vending machines!

2. #Walk30

#Walk30 focused on getting people out and about during their working day. Sparing 30 minutes five times a week, employees briskly walked during their commute, on their way home, during their lunchbreak and even during walking meetings! We had maps located in our offices and breakout rooms with planned 30 minute walks marked out on them – so there was no excuse not to get involved! This moderate exercise not only improves levels of alertness but helps support a better night’s sleep – and our people definitely felt the benefit of getting away from their desks for meetings.

3. #MeTime

The third part of our campaign focuses on #MeTime, an initiative that will see our people finding time to focus on number one and practice the art of mindfulness to help build their emotional intelligence. It’s a really handy technique that’s surprisingly simple to learn; all about awareness and feeling grounded in yourself. Alternatively, you could just pour yourself a cup of decaf tea and put your feet up at the end of a long day, if that suits you more!

There’s still time to sign up for the #MeTime challenge starting on Monday 15th May, make your pledge: 
https://tryit.axappphealthcare.co.uk/#pledge

Try the #MeTime challenge and we'll guide you through 4 weeks of mindfulness techniques

Taking positive, small steps towards building and strengthening our resilience can support a better working environment and positive outlook for everyone. It goes to show that these challenges can be beneficial in more ways than one, but they ultimately help us support the people who make us great.

Are you on your resilience journey? We’d love to see you get involved. You can share how you’re becoming more resilient by tweeting us using the hashtag #TRYit.

categories: AXA PPP healthcare  Wellbeing at AXA 

Be bold at work every day

posted by on 27 Mar 2017

On March 8th, we joined the world in celebrating International Women’s Day. How did we mark the event at AXA? We asked employees at our London office to share their advice and inspirational messages about how we can all Be Bold For Change at work.

“Beat your own drum more!”

Beat your own drum more - graffiti advice from AXA staff

A study found that women often hold themselves back by stepping aside for men when it comes to receiving credit for success. Now’s the time to stop being modest about your achievements. Be strong, stand tall and be counted. Understand your value, sing your own praises and make sure that the people around you understand the effort you put into your job and the great results that you produce. Why not forward that email of thanks to your manager to show them how well your hard work has been received? 

 

“Don’t be shy to say you have childcare commitments!”

Don't be afraid to say you have childcare commitments - graffiti advice from AXA staff

Being there for your children shouldn’t impact on how you’re seen in work. If you need to leave work on time – do it! We know that meeting the demands of work whilst enjoying life at home with your family and friends can be hard to juggle, that’s why we give our employees all the support they need to maintain a healthy work-life balance – relieving stress and increasing productivity.

 

“Speak up. Speak out!”

Speak up, speak out - graffiti advice from AXA staff

According to a study into gender inequality at work, on average men do 75% of the talking in meetings. We’re committed to having a more gender-balanced workforce and developing female talent across our business, so if you’re not doing so already, speak up and let your voice be heard! Why not challenge yourself to step outside of your comfort zone in your next meeting?

 

“Judge people by what they do, nothing else!”

Judge people by what they do, nothing else - graffiti advice from AXA staff

We should all be judged and judge other people on their actions and their work - not on their gender, sexual orientation, religion or the colour of their skin. We’re proud to foster a culture that enables every employee to bring their whole selves to work. After all, we spend a lot of time at work, so we want to make sure that it’s as enjoyable as possible.

We thoroughly enjoyed showing our support for International Women’s Day and are proud to support women across our business.

Writing on the graffiti board for International Women's Day 

categories: AXA people  Life at AXA