• Name: Gemma Jefferies
  • Job Title: Actuarial Trainee
  • Location: Guildford
  • University: Bath
  • Degree: BSc (Hons) Mathematics
  • Fields of Work: Pensions

Want to become an actuary but not sure what to expect? Find out more about how to become an actuary and what an Actuarial Trainee at XPS Pensions Group does here…

I did my internship at Punter Southall’s (now XPS Pensions Group) Wokingham office in the summer of 2009 before beginning my final year at university. I found it to be a great experience for me as it gave me a real insight into what being an Actuary would entail on a day-to-day basis without having to take the plunge of getting the job first – the fact it was paid was a bonus!

The people I worked with

Throughout my internship I sat with one of the actuarial teams. I was made to feel part of the team and had the opportunity to work with a complete mixture of actuaries in terms of their experience and roles within the company. I really liked the way the actuarial teams were structured as it enabled me to work with, and ask questions to, a variety of people and really gauge what I could expect from life working as an Actuary.

Typical work I was involved with

As an Actuarial Trainee at XPS Pensions Group, I experienced a lot of different areas of actuarial work in the form of client work, I undertook such tasks as:

  • Calculating transfer values for individual members
  • Working on each stage of the process for modelling the funding position of a Pension Scheme
  • Creating and updating spreadsheets for various tasks.

In the form of non-client work I got to:

  • Calculate a mock actuarial valuation to give me an idea of the whole picture of an Actuary’s bread and butter work
  • Work on a project as part of a team where we produced a written report and then had to prepare and give a presentation
  • Increase my knowledge of pensions through the use of educational computer programs.

Social life

I found out that life as an Actuary was not all work and no play. I was invited to join in many socials and I took full advantage, including playing in the weekly 5-a-side football, trips to the cinema, meals out and going for a drink at the local pubs.
Internships can lead to more…
The whole experience was both enjoyable and interesting and this helped me to make up my mind that a career as an Actuary was for me. I now work full time as a Trainee Actuary at XPS Pensions Group  and I think that a lot of that is down to me doing an internship there. Even if I had not got a job at the end of it, I would still have found it a worthwhile experience and an internship always looks good on the CV!


Looking back on it, I see my internship almost as an extended interview process that works both ways – I got to spend time working in the actuarial environment, getting a taste for the work and the sort of people I could expect to work with, and Punter Southall got to see if they thought I would be up to the challenge of working as an Actuary. Thankfully it would seem that they did.

Check out more actuarial roles on our Careers Advice page.

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