As a mutual business everything we do at NFU Mutual is in the best interests of our members. Our Actuarial teams use their keen mathematical skills to determine future potential risks to keep our members protected, our practices sustainable and our business fit for the future. Keelan and Neha are both maths graduates on our Actuarial Professional Trainee Scheme. We caught up with them to find out what the scheme involves, why they chose an industry graduate programme as opposed to a consultancy, and how commerciality in a mutual business benefits everyone.

What is the Actuarial Professional Trainee Scheme and what attracted you to it?
The Actuarial Professional Trainee Scheme offers graduates the opportunity to embark on the first step of their career in a supportive and nurturing environment. Enabling people to gain valuable industry experience, while supporting them with ongoing professional development and exposure to different business areas. Our Actuarial teams work to ascertain future outcomes and their associated risks.

Keelan has been on the Scheme for just over a year in the Life Insurance Capital team, here he explains why he chose to build his career with NFU Mutual. “I knew from early on in my studies that I wanted to become an Actuary. There are usually two options, either industry or consultancy. I was attracted to NFU Mutual because their care for people and focus on mutuality resonated with me. We don’t solely sit behind screens crunching numbers, what we do here protects people’s lives, livelihoods, and the business. We keep doing the best for our members, now and in the future. This care for people extends to those who work here too and there’s a huge emphasis on support and balance. Which is very different to what I’ve heard about working for a consultancy.”

Neha has been on the Scheme and working with the General Insurance Capital team since September 2022. She highlights the exposure to different areas of the business as an attractive element for her when she was deciding which direction to take. “I knew I wanted to work in industry and NFU Mutual’s human approach to business was refreshing. I thought it was interesting that we were offered opportunities to explore different areas of the business, both within our own roles and by being part of a wider graduate cohort. Here, we’re trusted and supported to undertake work that really embraces the true actuarial science aspect. It’s such great experience and so fascinating!”

What is the working environment like?
Neha says, “Everyone here is incredibly welcoming and supportive. The people are so friendly and genuinely want to help you progress. We have a significant amount of time dedicated to study and we’re encouraged to utilise our full study allowance at every sitting. And there’s always someone on hand to help if you have question. It’s a lovely, open culture and I’ve made some great friends both in my team and on the Professional Trainee Scheme.”

Keelan thinks NFU Mutual’s purpose is reflected in the culture, “Every decision is made with the interests of our members in mind. Even in a non-customer facing role, we’re always looking to give our members the best experience. We’re not pressured to move through projects quickly, as we would be in a consultancy, this is about relationships and doing the right thing. Essentially, this is a business that cares about the people we help, and that filters through to promote a positive work culture. Everyone wants to do a good job and is willing to help both our members and each other.”

What does the Professional Trainee Scheme involve?
“It’s a three-year long programme with a mixture of on-the-job experience, time away for study and exams and continuous professional development.” Keelan explains. “With the Professional Trainee Scheme, we’re also given the opportunity to have training sessions on soft skills, such as communication, presentation and influencing skills. As Neha mentioned before, we’re also given greater business exposure as part of the scheme, as we give presentations to senior colleagues and managers who oversee the Professional Trainee Scheme.”

Neha furthers this saying, “Because you join as part of a wider graduate cohort, from day one you’re able to build professional peer networks right across the business from IT, Finance and Pricing to Sales and Agency, Customers Services and HR. Which is incredibly valuable to help you feel connected with others and build confidence when navigating the wider business. And from a personal perspective, it’s a great way to make new friends. A lot of people move to Stratford-upon-Avon to start the Professional Trainee Scheme, so everyone is very sociable.”

What are your plans for the future?
The future is full of possibilities, as Neha shares, “Once we’re qualified, we can apply for roles right across the business. I’m thoroughly enjoying the variety in my current team, but it’s great that I have the option to do other things in the future. I’m excited to continue to develop my career at NFU Mutual.” Keelan echoes these thoughts. “Having done a year here and experiencing what a great place this is to work with great people, great support, and great opportunities. What’s not to like? I can see myself here for many years to come.”

What would you say to someone who is thinking of applying?
Keelan says, “Go for it! There are a lot of applicants, so if you get an offer seriously consider it. I feel really lucky to have got a place at NFU Mutual. If you’re looking for an opportunity to work on exciting projects, with real purpose and personal responsibility, this is one of the best schemes in the insurance industry to be in.” Neha agrees, “My friends who work for other companies complain, but I absolutely love my job. I couldn’t recommend the NFU Mutual Professional Trainee Scheme highly enough.”

Interested in the Actuarial Professional Trainee Scheme or working at NFU Mutual? Take a look at our current vacancies.