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Are you not sure if an actuarial internship or work experience is for you? Have you thought about doing one, but don’t know what to do or where to begin? Read this article for a quick introduction to actuarial internships & work experience as well as advice on how, where and when to apply.

Companies across various sectors offer internships to students entering their penultimate year of study; or to those who are considering postgraduate study after completing undergraduate courses. Typically actuarial internships run for a minimum of 6-8 weeks over the summer; and they will give you an opportunity to gain real life actuarial experience whilst earning a wage. Work experience is generally a shorter programme from one day to two weeks; these are often voluntary programmes where you will spend time shadowing a number of different departments, giving you a flavour of what your future career could be like.

When it comes to applying for your first graduate job, having actuarial internships & work experience under your belt makes you more employable: it is tangible evidence that you are driven, proactive and committed to a career as an actuary.

So what are the requirements?

These vary from company to company but generally candidates are expected to have a maths A level or equivalent; studying a numerically related degree and on track for a 2:1. Most companies will apply the same minimum criteria for both their intern and graduate programmes. Find out what employers ask for in our Employer Directory.

What does an actuarial internship consist of?

By completing an internship you will have a greater understanding of what that company does; and how closely their career offerings match your career ambitions. It is the perfect opportunity to understand what you could expect if you joined their graduate programme the following year.

During the programme you will be placed within a specific department (for example, pensions or insurance); earn a salary, work standard office hours and get involved in a variety of projects designed to give you a taste of actuarial life. Projects can involve working with data, building spreadsheets and models, or creating research on an aspect of the business to present to the whole team. You will start to learn standard calculations and technical methods employed by actuaries, gaining valuable professional insight and experience.

Training and support

Companies will provide you with a mixture of training and this will be dependent on what the programme consists of. This could range from formal training sessions to being assigned a mentor to guide you through your day to day work. Internships and work experience also provide invaluable networking opportunities – make sure you take up your fellow colleagues on an opportunity for social activities; from sports to meals as this is a great way to build your network with your future prospective team.

What will I take away from an internship?

In addition to the specific training that a company will offer, you will also learn how to work within a professional environment. This could include how to present and manage deadlines within real life project work or other skills such as how to run a conference call. You will also find out if you want to pursue a career within your chosen business area. Companies that offer internships have an excellent record of hiring graduates from their intern programme. The internship is a chance for you to see if you like the company and vice versa.

How can I apply?

Applications for internships typically open in September. We strongly encourage you to keep an eye on your chosen company’s career website, their social media pages and the Actuarial Careers’ website to find out when applications open. The companies in our Employer Directory all indicate whether or not they offer internships in addition to graduate placements.

Before you apply, take your time to review both the company and business area you are interested in to ensure they align to your skills; interest and future career aspirations. There are a wide variety of careers out there, so we recommend taking the time to research over the summer. If you are joining university in September and thinking about possible career paths; get in touch with the graduate recruitment team at the companies you have an interest in. They may have an insight or work experience programme that you could apply to.


About the Author

  • Name: Cathryn Rousell
  • Organisation: WTW

Cathryn Rousell is Willis Towers Watson’s University Recruitment Manager for the UK & Ireland. She specialises in recruiting for the Pensions, Investment, Insurance, Actuarial and Non-Actuarial positions as well as HR Consultancy and Software Developers.

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