I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the ABI, at the beginning I did question how I would survive the transition the routine of the working world but this got a lot better as the placement went on. The staff at the ABI were all very friendly and there is always someone you can talk to or ask for help. The ABI wasn't just all work focused, our Sports and Social Committee regularly organised fun social events for the staff and our Health and Wellbeing team held staff events such as chocolate tasting and chair massages to keep us sane.
I felt very valued by my colleagues at the ABI, when I first joined the staff were very welcoming and approachable and this continued throughout my placement. The staff has always been there to help and also very appreciative when you help them, there has never been a moment where I felt dismissed or undervalued by my colleagues.
We were given a lot of support and guidance from our manager, every week we had catch ups to keep him updated on our progress and how we are getting on. If there were any other problems or questions between these catch ups, we could always just shout across the table and ask for help.
During the periods of quarterly and annual data reporting, it could get quite busy trying to balance many data collections at once, however this isn't to the point where you become overwhelmed. There were also times when I didn't have as much going on which was a lot more relaxing and gives you time to focus on more side projects other than data collections.
We were given quite a lot of responsibility during our placement, the data & analytics advisers are in charge of overseeing all the long-term savings and general insurance data collections but the assistants were responsible managing our own data collections and ensuring everything is on track. The data collections are also published on the website under our name which makes us feel even more responsible for our work.
The ABI has helped me develop a lot of transferable skills that I can bring to my degree studies and in the future. In particular, my Excel skills have improved significantly and I have learned many elements to Excel that I didn't know existed before my placement. We also had the opportunity to work with Power BI which gave me a useful insight to the types of programmes that businesses can use for analytics. Having many data collections running simultaneously has also tested and improved my ability to manage my time effectively.
In the months I spent in the office before we transitioned to working from home due to Covid-19, I felt the the ABI office environment was quite relaxed and calm. It was never a difficult to focus on your tasks nor was it difficult to approach colleagues at there desks when you had a question. Our hub/kitchen space was an even friendlier environment with colleagues having a quick chat and catching up whilst making a tea.
My ABI did an extremely good job with the organisation of my placement. A few weeks into my placement we had to set our objectives and was given a list of competencies to keep track of throughout the year, not only does this help us keep track of our development, it also provides us with useful insights and examples to use in future interviews.
We were given the opportunity to sit the CII Certificate in Insurance which was completely funded by the ABI. This consisted of three different exams and helped me understand the insurance industry better. I was given an insight into balancing a full time job with an additional qualification. It is also useful to note that we were given 8 days of study leave for these exams.
Sports and Social Club
Working from home
Future employment prospects at the ABI is very limited, the teams at the ABI are quite small so unless a vacancy opens up, it is unlikely that we would return. This isn't completely impossible however, as there are other teams at the ABI which have had previous placement students return and taking on the position as an adviser.
There are only three other placement students at the ABI but we did frequently engage with each other. Most days when we are not too busy, we would have lunch together in the ABI hub and there were also many occasions where we would go and buy lunch together. There were also drinks after work and sports and social committee events which were attended by us placement students along with other ABI staff.
It is not unknown that London is an extremely expensive area to survive in, it is even more expensive if you are looking to live close to the office. I was lucky enough to move back home for the year so I saved a lot of money on rent and food, however if you do have to rent, your salary should be just enough to cover a house share, travel tickets and socialising.
London is definitely not lacking when it comes to nightlife, although I can't say I took up many opportunities at experiencing this. I have heard about the trendy bars nearby in Shoreditch including XOYO and The Hoxton Basement, which can be highly priced for the average student but apparently worth every penny.
There were many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work, the Sports and Social Committee have done a good job in organising these activities. Some clubs/events worth highlighting is the 5km lunch time running club (although I was never fit enough to take part in this), the Christmas Party at Savage Garden, Mini Golf at Swingers City and the Choir for those who can sing. The ABI also recently introduced the Corporate Social Responsibility programme which gives colleagues 1 day of individual volunteering and another day of group volunteering.
Placement Year (10 Months+)
22nd June 2020