I attended the IntoWork conference whilst on my summer placement at Lloyd’s, the world’s specialist insurance market. The conference was delivered as part of Lloyd’s Community Programme, which helps individuals achieve their potential through support from the Lloyd’s market. Upon attending the conference, I was awoken to a whole new world of what the application process for jobs in the city looks like, and quickly understood that although I was already ‘in work’ there was a magnitude of information I had yet to be exposed to.

Before I share my thoughts, let me explain exactly what the conference is. The IntoWork conference is delivered in partnership with The Brokerage, a social mobility charity that helps young people into opportunities in the City. The conference is a dedicated and structured event that aims to give up to 100 young people per year an insight into recruitment processes and develop core employability skills. The day is split into three core elements of a job application process and includes a range of practical application-based questions and activities, to rigorously replicate a real-life recruitment scenario. The day then ends with a panel discussion and a diverse insurance-focused careers fair, to help young people build their network directly with eager employers in the Lloyd’s market.

The first session of the day focused on psychometric testing. Having a very limited understanding of what psychometric tests were, I particularly appreciated this session on what the tests were and why  they are being increasingly used by employers. We were tested on the four key areas most commonly used by employers including verbal, numerical and logical reasoning and situational judgement tests. Peer learning was encouraged to help explain how we arrived at our outcome. This was particularly impactful for our group, having never done any form of a psychometric test before, as it gave us a chance to really understand what skills employers are looking for.

IntoWork conference

We then moved onto our next session, mock interviews! Paired with another delegate, we were assigned a volunteer from the Lloyd’s market to interview us. This gave us hands-on experience with how to tackle interviews and how to cope with pre-interview nerves. We also received feedback on our answers immediately after our interviews, which was very helpful.

The final practical session of the day was a group activity, commonly used in assessment centres. Working with the other delegates through a pitch-based exercise enabled me to get a feel of what it would be like in practice. Having to pitch my (and the other delegates’) ideas was also daunting but taught me the importance of practice and self-belief in yourself and your own ideas. We were then given feedback by volunteer assessors from the Lloyd’s market on what we did well and could improve on for next time.

We then had the opportunity to ask questions to a diverse panel, with the individuals being at different stages of their career. This included Neil Smith, the Chief Executive of Hampden, and Pippa Vowles, who leads the Talent Management at Beazley. Hanan Guthmy was also on the panel; a former intern at Brit Insurance, who recently became permanent in April 2019 after having her contract extended for nine months. It was useful to hear from such a varied panel, enabling delegates to both learn and relate to experiences from the beginnings of Hanan’s career, and gain a valuable insight from Neil and Pippa.

IntoWork conference

The day ended with a careers fair, where I had the chance to speak to a range of employers in the Lloyd’s market which was particularly useful as it gave me exposure to new firms I hadn’t heard of before that I would consider applying to for jobs.

Overall, I really enjoyed my time at the conference! As someone who isn’t naturally extroverted, the networking lunch with volunteers from the Lloyd’s market and the careers fair really pushed me out of my comfort zone, which I know will be key in advancing to the next stages of my career.

Written by Hadika Ahmed

If you work in the Lloyd’s market, you can get involved in next year’s conference by emailing [email protected].

If you are in Year 12, Year 13 or studying your undergraduate degree, you can find out more about attending next year by email [email protected].