Feb 2 2012 3:00PM
Supplying the workforce of the future
The second Willis Educational Partners' event to be hosted at UCS by the School of Business, Leadership and Enterprise, took place on Thursday 26 January following the recent announcement that the leading global insurance brokers had selected UCS as one of their preferred Educational partners.
UCS and Willis have worked together for more than three years to enhance the employability of UCS undergraduates, providing access to one of the firms European offices, handling risk management and reinsurance across a wide range of service areas and industries.
The theme of this years Educational Partners' event was 'employability'. Fifteen representatives from ten local High Schools and Colleges were given a masterclass in what employers look for when recruiting staff and how those in education can prepare their students for employment.
Speaking about the working relationship between UCS and Willis, Gary Shoesmith, Technical Training and Education Liaison Director, said: “Establishing and developing a close working relationship with UCS has hugely benefitted our education liaison strategy and undoubtedly helped Willis widen its profile in the local community. We have worked regularly with UCS over the past three years which has led to a widely recognised and highly valued Internship Programme.”
Willis anticipates its relationship with UCS developing substantially over the next decade. By accessing first year students at an early stage it can help them understand what is expected of them.
“Our most successful education partner relationships have largely been the result of identifying individuals who put themselves out to identify employer related opportunities for their students. UCS has excelled at doing this and our dialogue has reached a high level of maturity and understanding. We share common goals in wanting to grow our businesses globally.”
Willis has recruited UCS graduates successfully completing their internships and, looking ahead, Willis expects UCS to represent an increasingly valuable source of supply for its talent pipeline. It also anticipates the students graduating from UCS to be even better equipped to deliver a valuable contribution to employers at an early stage of their careers.
Find out more about the UCS Careers Service.
Inside an internship
Kimberley Burch, a second year Business Management student at UCS, completed a six week internship at Willis last summer.
“My business experience was previously within small teams and my time at Willis provided me with an opportunity to experience what it’s like to work for a global business while gaining module grades towards my degree at the same time” she said.
Feeling part of the team and being involved in all aspects of the business was one of the reasons why Kimberley found her time at Willis so invaluable.
“I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to get involved in all aspects of the business and to be treated as any other employee, holding one-to-one meetings with a variety of teams and giving my input.”
Kimberley has since gone on to talk about her experiences in a series of talks to promote the benefits of an internship to her fellow students at UCS.
“Those looking take on an opportunity such as this should evaluate what type of experience would be beneficial for them long-term. Personally, my experience was invaluable and I got much more out of it than I ever thought I would.”