From education to employment

Zurich launches ‘Kick-Start Mentors’ Scheme to tackle Industry Diversity across four regions

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  • Zurich’s launches its ‘Kick-Start Mentors’ scheme to state funded secondary schools
  • Programme being rolled out across five schools in Waltham Forest, Newham, Birmingham, Croydon and Hampshire, 2 of whom were in the pilot scheme
  • 80 students have joined the programme with 24 Zurich mentors

Insurer Zurich today launches ‘Kick Start Mentors’, in partnership with five schools as part of its ‘Early Careers’ programme.  The initiative has been designed to attract future talent from diverse backgrounds across the country. The 80 pupils who have already signed up to the scheme will be mentored by 24 specially trained Zurich future leaders who work in various business areas across the UK. 

‘Kick Start Mentors’ is being rolled out – across the London boroughs of Waltham Forest and Newham, as well as Birmingham, Croydon and Hampshire where the global insurer has offices.  It follows a successful pilot in 2022 with 25 students, from Heathcote School and Science College in Waltham Forest and St Bonaventure’s RC School in Newham.  

This year they will be joined by, Holyhead School  in Birmingham, Thomas More Catholic School and Sixth Form in Croydon and The Sixth Form College Farnborough.

Half of last year’s students have gone on to complete additional work experience placements with the insurer as well as a number who are now Ambassadors for the programme to attract and support the next cohort within their schools.

Running over six months, Zurich employees and students will mentor and learn from each other.  Sessions cover CV building, successful networking, and the breadth of career options in insurance – from data science and analytics through to marketing and underwriting.  At the same time, mentees share their own insights into the challenges they are facing such as access to different industries, and whether they have role models in senior positions.

In June, participants will be invited to an event, where they will be awarded with a certificate of completion. They will also have the opportunity to work on a final team challenge that they will present back to the business along with speed interviewing and networking practice. 

David Nichols, Head of Zurich’s UK Retail Business and sponsor of Kickstart Mentors said:

“This is an exciting project for us as we look to attract the next generation of talent to our business, many of whom would never consider the insurance sector.  Through our pilot, we got to work with some wonderful young people whose insights and ideas help us to better understand our customers and communities.”

Catherine Cole, Principal of The Sixth Form College Farnborough said:

“Kickstart is a fantastic initiative for us to be involved with.   As educators, we play a vital role in helping to lay the foundations for successful futures.  By working with businesses such as Zurich, we can build on this by preparing students for the world of work and making them aware of the many opportunities open to them.”  

Leo Docherty, MP for Aldershot said:

“Zurich is doing a fantastic job of engaging with the students at Farnborough and other schools to encourage them to think about their future careers. ‘Kick Start Mentoring’ is a great way of attracting diverse talent through routes such as its apprenticeship schemes.  We’re hopeful that many of the students involved will consider these and also take advantage of invaluable work experience and the opportunity build their professional networks.”

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