JM Glendinning Group Managing Director Nick Houghton wrote this article published in The Broker magazine.

Like many, I fell into insurance. At the time I didn’t know what I wanted to do (I wasn’t alone!) but at least insurance was promoted to me as a career choice. Local colleges ran CII courses. Parents and schools spoke about insurance careers to their children. Our market PR was good, it got me into the market… and here I’ve stayed.

Fast forward 25 years, I’m doing the hiring and I wanted to recruit a bright young thing (there are too many middle aged plodders in our market on a merry-go-round of employers).

This is going to be easy I thought…I contacted colleges and agencies about a general insurance apprenticeship… SILENCE.

It turns out that I cannot recruit a general insurance apprentice in Yorkshire and send them to college locally to study for their CII exams with their peers. We’ve lost the ability to do this. I could recruit an apprentice to study accounting or general management but not general insurance. What’s going on?

Next stop, CII and BIBA websites. There are some excellent guides and useful links to Government websites – including links to a handful of colleges that support CII exams – but sadly nothing near me.

What this exercise made me realise is the lack of noise around general insurance when it comes to attracting younger talent. Where’s our PR gone? I did some mock interviews with year 10s recently – half of them didn’t know what insurance was. Never mind considering it as a career choice.

To be fair BIBA is promoting the new apprenticeship standards coming in across the insurance industry… to help us do what I’m trying to do. But will the standards go far enough to promote insurance as an intelligent career choice at grass roots levels? The diversity of distribution and technology opportunities is perfect for some bright young digitally minded talent to exploit. The risk is, unless we attract them into the market, they go elsewhere to make the most of their talents.

In the end, we did our own thing. We recruited the individuals direct (not as apprentices) and have trained them ourselves. It was hard to do and I ask myself how many businesses are not investing in the next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs because of that fact?

We are staring down the barrel of a digital revolution and we need to be attracting younger talent into our market that can help us exploit the opportunity. This starts with our PR and we need to get better at it.