Behind the scenes with Matthew McGahern

 

At Allianz we offer an Apprenticeship Programme which gives you the opportunity to gain hands on, invaluable work experience while also completing a Level 8 degree in Business Studies through ATU (Atlantic Technological University) and undertaking the relevant insurance exams. 

We sat down with Matthew McGahern to hear all about his experience of the Allianz Apprenticeship Programme

 

 

What is your role at Allianz?

I currently work as a New Business Development Underwriter at Allianz, after three years on the Apprenticeship Programme.  I work within the New Business Enterprise team and am involved in growing the GWP and developing relationships with our Broker Partners. The new business enterprise team is a very successful team and forms a crucial part of the overall company strategy.

The experience I gained through the Allianz Apprenticeship Programme, both academically and professionally, equipped me with the skill set I needed to progress into my current underwriting role. 

 

Why did you choose the Allianz Apprenticeship Programme?

Initially, my plan was to go straight into third level education but when I came across the Allianz Apprenticeship Programme I was immediately drawn to it. 

The one thing that caught my attention was the ‘Earn and Learn’ structure of the programme. The fact that there was a chance to earn a wage and gain working experience whilst also studying for a level 8 degree and insurance qualifications was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down.

 

 

Describe your experience in 3 words?

Challenging – trying to strike a balance between work and college was difficult at the beginning, but with the support of my team and ATU (Atlantic Technological University) I got into a great routine and felt I was able to reach out to both if I needed help. 

Rewarding – the ideas I learned in college were a huge help in building my confidence in my role. I felt I was able to contribute valuable insights to the team and felt ready to take on more responsibility when it came my way. This led to my nominated for the General Apprentice of the Year award in 2022! 

Supportive – Allianz values hard work and dedication but our people come first. There was always someone willing to help with any queries and work together to find a solution. 

 

In your three years on the programme, what has been the biggest learning you've taken away?

The importance of strong working relationships and teamwork! Over the past three years I’ve built really strong working relationships and learnt that this is skill which is so important in your career and working life.

I also learned how to apply all the academic literature I studied as part of the programme to everyday tasks within the workplace - the practicality of the Apprenticeship Programme is brilliant.  This apprenticeship allows you to learn and study topics that are relevant within the workforce and that you can take with you moving forward in your career. This is really unique in comparison to other courses.

 

What is the best advice you received & what advice would you give to incoming apprentices?

The best advice I received while completing this apprenticeship was to have the confidence to put yourself out there, and not to be afraid to make mistakes or leave your comfort zone. 

If I was to give any advice to oncoming apprentices, I would advise them to take chances, leave their comfort zone, and make use of the opportunities that come to you. Building connections and friendships within your company can help you in your career and personal growth and putting yourself out there is the first step. I’ve learned so much from each of my colleagues that has been instrumental in continuously improving my approach to working life. 

 

What has been your highlight in Allianz so far?

My professional highlight has been obtaining a DUA (Delegated Underwriting Authority) status. This has provided me with not only a great drive professionally, but a pride in my work and feeling part of the team.

Also, being nominated by my manager/supervisors for the general apprenticeship of the year award in 2022 unbeknown to me was a great achievement, and a definite highlight. All my mentors and colleagues have shown me so much support in helping with my development within Allianz, which has allowed me to improve in all aspects professionally.  

On a personal note, celebrating my 21st birthday in the office with my team was definitely a highlight in my three years so far. The team had organised a small celebration for me. It gave me a great boost and made me feel grateful to be part of a team and company that values its employees. 

 

We are now accepting applications for our apprenticeship programme 2023. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, we’d love to hear from you.  Apply here: https://careers.allianz.com/job-invite/24830/