Think you know what working life at a leading insurance company is like? Join Aviva (whether on its graduate leadership programme or its graduate and apprenticeship schemes in actuarial, accountancy or technology) and you’ll find your perceptions challenged. Aviva is all about people – its customers and its employees – and so it will support you to do your best work, feel included in your team and make your mark on the business.
Here’s what current graduates have to say about their experience so far. Everyone quoted below is on Aviva’s graduate leadership programme, apart from Megan Halliday who is an actuarial trainee. As well as showing why a career at Aviva could be for you, this information can also be used as a starting point for researching the company before you apply.
‘My perception of insurance careers before I applied was that they were quite boring, people were sat at a desk all day on Excel and there wouldn’t be much variety work-wise,’ says Yasmin Cockitt. ‘Since working in insurance I have realised how varied it is.’
‘I can’t fault Aviva as a place to work,’ says Suzy Parish. ‘I never thought I’d work in insurance having done a psychology degree, but I have absolutely no regrets about starting this graduate scheme. I have learned so much in just a year and can honestly say that I’ve enjoyed going to work. The amount of care and support I’ve received has blown me away and I would actively encourage anyone considering the scheme to go for it!’
Aviva’s work culture is one that respects individuality and encourages employees to be themselves, express their thoughts and ask questions. Lottie Stone says: ‘I had anticipated everything to be far more formal than it is and to feel intimidated – but I don’t at all. Everyone is so approachable, which is probably the biggest standout thing to me. I think the fact that so many people I have spoken to have worked for Aviva for many years really speaks volumes – it seems very obvious that there’s a good work culture or people wouldn’t stay so long here.’
You’ll be supported to develop your career every step of the way, including professional qualifications, tailored learning and colleagues who are always on hand to help you out. ‘There was a comprehensive induction in the first few weeks and we have a buddy scheme, a mentor scheme and coaching groups as our formal support structures,’ says Yevgeniy Hildebrandt. ‘That being said, everyone at Aviva is so welcoming and approachable that there are numerous informal avenues I feel I can use if I need advice.’
Of course, work isn’t the only thing that matters in life. Aviva offers its graduates and apprentices an impressive range of clubs and social activities, as well as opportunities to take paid volunteering leave and launch initiatives that will help Aviva make a positive difference.
Alexander Currie says: ‘On just my second day I volunteered with my new team at a local cemetery helping to clear vastly overgrown areas and upkeep the graves. I have also gone into a local sixth form to help educate teenagers around finance, which was very well received. There are lots of social activities too, whether that be with fellow grads or weekly quizzes with the local Aviva young person network. We also do things as a team; last year I arranged our Christmas party.’
Even before Covid-19, Aviva had a culture of ‘smart working’, giving employees the chance to work from home for some of their hours. This approach has ensured that Aviva’s employees continue to feel supported and valued while working from home on a longer-term basis.
‘I started my role remotely and was worried I would be sat at home, easily forgotten about and with no equipment – but it has been the opposite experience,’ says Yuthica Singh. ‘Everything I needed to start working was sent to me promptly and I have felt extremely supported from both my team and the central graduate programme. I definitely do not feel like I’ve missed out on any opportunities, and it has actually allowed me to get involved with more and reach out to more people at times.’
The pandemic has made taking care of our physical and mental wellbeing more important than ever. While remote working can sometimes make it harder to maintain a clear work/life balance, Aviva knows that people work best when they are healthy and happy.
Suzy Parish says: ‘I have friends who work for other companies who feel that they must work crazy hours to “prove themselves” – I love the fact that’s not the attitude at Aviva and that it’s more about working smart and the actual quality of your work instead. My manager always emphasises how my home life is the most important thing. For example, in casual conversation I was telling her that I like running – a few weeks down the line when the clocks changed, she said that if I’m not wanting to run in the dark now that the days are shorter, I’m more than welcome to take time during the day to get out. I can hand on heart say that Aviva put my health and wellbeing first and that I feel truly valued as an employee.’
Megan Halliday says: ‘Comparing Aviva to other insurance companies some of my friends work for, I’ve noticed that Aviva has a much bigger focus on the wellbeing of its people. Being able to take advantage of the flexible working, volunteering opportunities and mental health support Aviva offers has made starting a new job during a pandemic so much easier! Knowing I’m being looked after allows me to relax, be myself and be more productive.’
Of course, while supporting its employees to develop their careers and look after their wellbeing, Aviva is helping them to provide the best possible service for its customers. Aviva understands that it has a huge impact on peoples’ lives (whether they are claiming on their insurance or saving for the future with a retirement fund, for example), and so it does everything with the customer in mind. As a graduate or apprentice at Aviva, you will be a part of this.
Kieran Knox says: ‘Insurers often get this perception of not paying out (even when they really should). However, in reality this is often not the case. For example, we have gone above and beyond to support our customers through Covid-19, whether this be through payment deferrals or through podcasts on helping people getting their businesses back up and running. That customer-first attitude has surprised yet pleased me.’
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