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Celebrating World Youth Skills Day

Today (15 July) is United Nations World Youth Skills Day 2020.

Established in 2014 by the UN General Assembly, World Youth Skills Day is an opportunity for young people, technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions, and public and private sector stakeholders to acknowledge and celebrate the importance of equipping young people with the skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship.

The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown measures mean this year’s event takes place at a challenging time with many TVET institutions closing their doors, affecting nearly 70% of people in education around the world.

Why is World Youth Skills Day important?

According to the United Nations, rising youth unemployment is one of the most significant problems facing economies and societies for both developed and developing countries alike. The latest Global Employment Trends for Youth 2020 report shows that since 2017, there has been an upward trend in the number of youths not in employment, education or training (NEET).

To mark World Youth Skills Day, we spoke with three colleagues in the early years of their careers at Chubb to find out their stories:

Emeldah Mohale

Emeldah Mohale,
Operations Multinational Support – Sandton, South Africa

Tell me about your route into insurance

My insurance journey kicked off with an internship programme in January 2018. I applied for the Chubb internship programme, got shortlisted for an interview, got the job and have been with the company for the past two years.

Why did you want to join the industry?

Well, to be honest I didn’t choose the insurance industry and I never saw myself working for an insurance company, it just happened. I fell into it, insurance chose me. Since I studied accounting, I was hoping to land a job in an accounting firm, however I ended up in insurance and loved it! Now my plan is to remain in the industry for as long as possible.

What were your first impressions?

It is not what people perceive it to be, you need to experience the industry for yourself to realise the great opportunities it offers you and the world it opens up. I’m glad I stumbled on this career!

What advice would you give someone considering joining the industry/Chubb?

The insurance industry is a great place to be. It is very diverse and there are career opportunities available to suit almost everyone. You are provided with the chance to discover something new every day, so one must be willing to learn and to put in the work.

There is also an opportunity to travel and meet with clients and colleagues from different places, which is great for networking and building relationships.

Thasneem Zaman,
Real Estate Assistant Underwriter & Chair of Social Mobility Network – London, UK

Tell me about your route into insurance

I was introduced to the world of insurance at an insight day at Marsh where I loved the idea of client relationships, the face-to-face interactions that the insurance industry is based on. After the insight day I made a conscious effort to look for insurance-based internships. I secured an internship at CNA Hardy for nine weeks in the HR/ Learning and development team. They then offered me part time work while at university. Just before I graduated, I joined Chubb as an underwriting assistant and then eight months later got promoted into my current role as Real Estate Assistant Underwriter.

Why did you want to join the industry?

  • The diverse roles within the sector – a hidden gem in the financial sector;
  • Provides the perfect work-life balance;
  • Desire to work in the city where I grew up.

What were your first impressions?

  • The people who work in Insurance are very welcoming;
  • Multiple career paths available;
  • Not yet diverse enough but definitely an active agenda to change this.

What advice would you give someone considering joining the industry/Chubb?

Within the insurance industry each company operates differently and has its own values so you need to find a company that aligns with your values.

Dandison Allen-Thomas,
Assistant Underwriter, A&H, Major Accounts Division – London, UK

Tell me about your route into insurance

It would sound like a fairy-tale if I told you insurance has always been the industry of my dreams from youth, and that is exactly the case. My route into insurance could be considered accidental. Growing up on a council estate in Peckham, South London I was always intrigued by the tall City of London buildings on the horizon. Coupled with the fact London is always spoken about as one of the major financial capitals in the world, I soon developed a desire to work there, in whatever capacity. My opportunity came after I was introduced to Brokerage, a City of London based social mobility charity whose mission is to connect young disadvantaged Londoners and City employers. They ran a workshop after school hours and, after being persuaded to attend, I signed up and was then informed about various industries within the Square Mile. A friend then encouraged me to send an application for a summer internship at Tokio Marine Kiln. They gave me a chance and my journey within the insurance industry began.

Why did you want to join the industry?

Initially, I had no desire to work in insurance, this was mainly because I was ignorant about the importance of the industry. After learning about how many major companies and industries rely on the safety net that insurance provides, and the magnitude of London’s influence in the global market whether it is through the company market or through Lloyd’s of London, I was keen to enter the industry and make my mark through underwriting. The professionalism of the industry and my interest in the many solutions for business risk were two of the factors that motivated me to enter insurance full time after university.

What were your first impressions?

My first impression was culture shock! Having grown up in London most of my life, although I was technically only three miles from home, I felt as if I was in a foreign land far, far away. I felt like the proverbial “new kid on the block”.

From seeing two computer screens in front of me, instead of the usual one, to meeting people with very different backgrounds, tastes and interests to me, as well as hearing high-level insurance jargon that I have now come to understand, the question that consistently flowed through my mind was “what am I doing here?”

There were many positives and negatives, including Imposter Syndrome, as well as internal pressures to succeed. But the overriding feeling, especially being someone who loves to learn and explore, was excitement because I was very aware that there was an abundance of things to discover in such a rich industry.

What advice would you give someone considering joining the industry/Chubb?

One piece of wisdom I would give to someone making their first steps within insurance is to always maintain a desire to learn. This will play out in many ways, whether it is meeting each and every new task with a level of excitement, seeing problems as opportunities to develop, and also, that confidence to ask questions when you encounter something unfamiliar - because you are willing to adapt and grow, success should always be in sight.

Chubb Social Mobility Network

Through the work of the Social Mobility Network, we are developing and promoting a culture of inclusion and equality, where access to internal and external opportunities at Chubb are open to all, regardless of background.

At Chubb we have a strong network focused on Social Mobility, powered by some passionate people. The idea really is to access a wide range of diverse talent and match them to the skillsets we need at Chubb, to drive our organisation forward. We believe equality provides opportunity.