LMG launches inaugural Futures Academy

Today marks the launch of the London Market Group (LMG)’s Futures Academy programme, which will see up to 50 London market firms provide a fortnight of industry work experience for over 100 Year 12 students.

Speaking to The Insurer TV, LMG CEO Caroline Wagstaff said: “It’s a great opportunity to create a cross-market initiative to create a buzz around the industry to a younger cohort of people to drive talent initiatives moving forward.

“There's a key data point which I always come back to, which is this industry, in the London market, there are more people who are over 50 than under 30. That's clearly a bit of a problem,” she said.

In the first week, a different broker or underwriter will host the students for a day in their office in EC3.

Students will participate in collective activities designed to increase their knowledge of the industry and build awareness of specialty insurance as a career option. The students will then each spend their second week in an individual host insurance business.

“We identified 50 schools around London, all with high socioeconomic markers, and we've been into each of those schools to talk about why specialty insurance is a great place to work,” Wagstaff explained.

The aim of the initiative is to build the profile of specialty insurance as a positive career choice among students at a point in their life when they are thinking about entry-level roles, apprenticeships or university.

And the long-term goal is to shift the age profile of the London market, where more workers are aged over 50 than under 30.

“The most fantastic thing about this is, for me, is that this is the London market personified. We do collaborations so well when we come together and this is an amazing example,” said Wagstaff, who has been a key ambassador for the programme.

“We've had incredible support from the HR community, from the leadership community, for everyone to come on board with this. I think people are genuinely really excited about it and I think that everybody's really thought about it, because we don't want people just photocopying.”

She added: “[The LMG has] given people guidance and we've done as much as we can to support particularly the smaller and medium-sized businesses who maybe have never done work experience before, to think about how it will be a great experience for both the students and for themselves.”

Nearly 50 firms have signed up to host 115 students in total, and the fortnight of work experience will culminate in a careers fair on 14 July.

“I hope this, as a fortnight, gives a lot of kids the opportunity to have something to put on their CV and to talk about when they go out and look for a job, even if they decide that specialty insurance isn’t for them. We hope this has genuinely helped them see what the world of work is like.

“Moving forward, we will do something in the autumn. But I really hope this becomes a big annual event for the London market. It's just a great opportunity to show what we can do when we all work together,” Wagstaff concluded.

Commenting on the initiative separately, Sean McGovern, CEO of Axa XL UK and chair of the LMG, said: “The London market has long needed to advertise itself as a desirable career option for young people entering the workforce.

“We want to shine a spotlight on specialty insurance as an interesting and exciting place to work. For too long, we have complained about the market’s talent problem. Let this be the beginning of its talent solution.”

Watch the 7-minute video with the LMG’s Caroline Wagstaff to find out more about the Futures Academy.