• Name: Danielle Curtis
  • Job Title: Trainee Actuary
  • Location: London
  • University: -Other UK-
  • Degree: Actuarial Science with a Year in Industry at the University of Kent
GAD Danielle Curtis

Getting the GAD job

I am a Trainee Actuary at GAD. I studied Actuarial Science with a Year in Industry at University of Kent, Canterbury.

Studying this course gave me an insight into the type of work actuaries do and provided me with exemptions for the actuarial exams. In the academic year 2019 to 2020, I completed a placement year at GAD as an analyst.

I spent the first 6 months in the Analytical Solutions team before moving to the Insurance and Investment team. I really enjoyed my placement experience as I was involved in many interesting projects and developed a good understanding of public sector pensions.

I learned how to use Mantle (a pensions software), developed knowledge of R programming language and used Tableau for the first time. This is when I decided that I wanted to pursue a career as an actuary.

After completing my final year at university and working for a year in the private sector, I applied for a trainee position at GAD’s London office.

Current role

I work in the Analytical Solutions team which predominantly does all the calculations for the client teams. I personally have worked on the valuation of pensions and the calculation of pension factors for the public schemes.

As part of the trainee programme, I can rotate into the 3 other teams (Public Sector Pensions, Specialist Actuarial Team & Insurance and Investment).

At GAD, there is a huge focus on developing the technical skills of both analysts and trainees. The department pays for courses to learn a new programming language such as R or Python. There are opportunities to get involved in projects that build your technical knowledge of software such as SAS, Excel Visual Basic, and Mantle.

Study support

GAD provides support through the generous study package which includes paid study days, study material and by assigning each trainee their own study mentor. They are there to answer any study related questions you might have about exams. Study mentors also offer advice regarding which exams to pick depending on your career-goals.

GAD covers the costs for course notes, mock exam marking and in person or online tutorials. Also, colleagues who have previously sat exams are willing to help with any study questions and share material or study techniques that worked for them.

Flexible and friendly

The culture at GAD is supportive, flexible, and friendly. Colleagues are always willing to help and explain new concepts.

GAD organises frequent knowledge shares (in person and online) covering hot topics such as climate risk reporting, sustainability, Brexit and pensions for European officials. GAD offers flexible working as well as flexible lunch which works well if you want to participate in any lunchtime activities or revise.

There are also a range of different socials that GAD hosts such as book club, football, yoga, lunch-time wellness walks and end of project drinks.

Advice for others

GAD is a great place to start out as a trainee due to the support offered by colleagues and line managers.

There is a good focus on the development of colleagues and there is great variety of work that you can get involved in. As someone new to the actuarial career this is a great place to figure out what type of work you enjoy.

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