The people behind Davies:

Graeme Pratt shares how he became a passionate advocate for apprenticeships
  1. Tell us about yourself. What do you do and what challenges does it bring?

I’m a Client Relationship Manager in the Client Growth and Success Team at Davies. Being fairly new, having started at the end of March 2022, I work with clients to ensure the success of their existing learners on our learning programmes and apprenticeships, as well as grow and build opportunities for more learners to come on board with Davies in the future.

Day to day I deal with reporting and producing MI for clients, escalations and queries. The biggest challenge in my role is working quickly and under pressure, as many of the client queries that come through are urgent and need a fast turnaround. It often requires investigation with various people to identify the root cause of any challenges, then propose solutions, so being able to spin lots of plates at once is essential.

 

  1. What made you want to work in this industry?

Like many people in the insurance industry, I fell into my first role by pure chance. My dad worked at an insurance company and I got a summer job doing data entry. It was a better option than the long hours I had been doing in various hospitality roles prior to that!

Honestly, the initial decision to work in insurance was purely down to wanting to play hockey! A 9-5 Monday-Friday role in an office meant I could go to training and play on weekends. And the rest as they say, is history. I have met and worked with some really amazing people in this industry and have become a genuine advocate for apprenticeships. They offer a route into employment I wish I had the chance to explore when I was younger, as well as being an amazing way for existing employees to upskill and prove their competence.

 

  1. What are the biggest challenges or misconceptions you come across when talking to clients about apprenticeships?

There are 2 key things here:

Firstly – the old school view of apprenticeships being only for school leavers and tradespeople in particular. This is nonsense now, with apprenticeships extending across a variety of academic levels, including degree and masters level. You can now become a solicitor or an architect via an apprenticeship – and within insurance, the networks that exist are fast becoming a voice of change for learning & development needs of the industry. It’s also increasingly common for graduate and early careers schemes to now be built and structured around an apprenticeship programme.

Secondly – the Off-The-Job (OTJ) requirement. Often referred to as the ‘20% rule’ which is due to change in August 2022. It can be seen by some as a challenge to manage, and record this learning. I believe that the task is not as onerous as initial thoughts might suggest as many tasks completed in a learner’s day-to-day role can be counted towards these hours. Tasks such as running meetings, shadowing, mentoring, and many others that learners or line managers often don’t realise they can count.

In addition, there is lots of evidence out there to suggest that reflecting on any learning we do helps us to recall, recollect and embed the learning over an extended period of time.  Recording the OTJ hours and completing a reflective statement means the learner will remember more and see more value from their experience – this can only be a good thing.

 

  1. What are we doing as an organisation to address that challenge?

We speak to many organisations about their needs – with apprenticeships at the heart of those conversations. We offer a range of solutions to meet the early careers challenges businesses are facing with Level 3 programmes in Insurance, Customer Services, Compliance and Business Administration, and also support grad schemes through the higher-level apprenticeships on offer such as the Senior Insurance Professional Level 6 – which contains the Advanced Diploma in Insurance (ACII).

We encourage businesses to see the benefits of an apprenticeship to both them and the learner, providing information and guidance to debunk apprenticeship myths, and working with them to link their strategic business goals to their Levy spend. And personally, I make sure that my enthusiasm about apprenticeships more generally comes out in the way I interact with clients and learners alike.

 

  1. What developments do you expect to see in learning within the financial services industry over the next 12 months?

This one is a tough question to answer. There has already been changes in approaches to things like flexible working, digital and remote learning delivery, and the need for products and services in an ever-changing world.

I think we will start to see the hard work paying off around apprenticeships soon – with recruiting managers seeing apprenticeships appearing more on people’s CVs, and an understanding of why that makes the individual such a strong candidate. The old-fashioned view is evolving, and apprenticeships are here to stay.

 

  1. If you could go back and give younger you any kind of career advice, what would it be?

Such a tough question!  Part of me thinks I’m glad to have got to the place I’m in now – despite the journey not always having been smooth sailing.

I guess I’d say to make sure you get the balance right. Work is important and can be something you really enjoy, but what exists outside of work will always be more important. I have a little girl and she is my pride and joy – and when I look back at what I’m most proud of in my life, the majority of those occasions were in my personal life – work-life balance is the hardest thing to get right, but the most important in my opinion.

 

Our learning solutions team delivers a range of apprenticeship programmes across insurance & financial services. Get in touch with to find out how we help businesses build a more diverse and talented workforce with use from the apprenticeship levy.

Graeme Pratt 
Client Relationship Manager
greame.pratt@davies-group.com
linkedin.com/in/graemepratt/

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