Lewis Cooper – Lloyd’s Insurance Apprentice
A mentor is someone you can talk to confidentially about your role and experiences during your time at work. They will help you to develop solutions to any issues you may be encountering and can help to guide you in the right direction in terms of workplace situations and career decisions. Mentoring also helps the mentee to progress and develop with their mentor, who provides continuous support throughout the scheme.
As part of the apprenticeship scheme, every apprentice is allocated a mentor who has a role within the insurance industry. My initial meetings with my mentor were arranged via email – this was important to get the ball rolling. I think it’s a good idea to have a couple of mentoring sessions initially to gage the usefulness of the time together, before committing to a regular sequence of meetings. My mentor and I meet every other Wednesday for around one hour.
During the sessions a wide variance of topics are discussed, the majority regarding work. However it is also important to get to know one another and so there are topics discussed that are less relevant. A mentor is generally older and more experienced and for that very reason will be able to inform you with tips and knowledge that will help to further your understanding. This is most definitely the case with me as my mentor heads up the marine and energy division at a well-known and established managing agent (they take on the risk from the broker). For me, a mentoring session allows me to develop my knowledge and understanding of the Lloyd’s insurance market, whilst gaining and maintaining a friendly and yet professional relationship with a senior underwriter.
I think it’s fair to say that mentoring, like anything, will vary in usefulness depending on what you put into it. Personally, meeting with my mentor has prevailed new and exciting opportunities. Each mentoring relationship will vary. I enjoy meeting with mine as he answers any questions I have regarding my career, whilst adding context to the answers to make it relatable to me. Meetings are something to look forward to and they give you an opportunity to break up your day with time away from your desk – something that I find very important.
It is best to go into sessions with an open mind and with a couple of questions, but no real set in stone agenda as the conversations often lead to other relevant conversations. As I mentioned previously, mentoring sessions are arranged to benefit your career but it is important that the meetings are relaxed and other conversations not to do with work are had in order to build a flexible relationship with each other.