Improving diversity within the profession with the Actuarial Mentoring Programme

audience at event

In this blog, Abbie Hildrew from social impact organisation, Moving Ahead, discusses the Actuarial Mentoring Programme (AMP) - a cross-company mentoring initiative supporting diversity and inclusion within the Actuarial profession. 

As the diversity and inclusion landscape continues to progress, organisations are increasingly confronted with crucial and challenging conversations. Social Impact organisation, Moving Ahead, believes in the power of bringing two individuals together to share meaningful stories, perspectives and connections to drive change.

The Actuarial Mentoring Programme (known as AMP) is a cross-company mentoring initiative designed to improve diversity and inclusion within the actuarial profession.  Run by Moving Ahead, the programme was launched in 2017 with the support of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries and sponsorship from Pension Insurance Corporation plc ©. AMP is kicking off for another exciting nine-month programme this March.

AMP is a proven, practical and powerful cross company mentoring initiative, bringing together mentors and mentees from the actuarial profession, from esteemed organisations such as Aviva, BUPA, Bank of England and Arch Insurance.

AMP initially focused on retaining female actuaries within the profession, through ongoing career advice and development. However, the aim has always been to address diversity more widely, and we have seen a broadening of the remit in each successive year of the programme.  2020 was a year of challenging conversations, and this added extra momentum to addressing equality of representation. Increasingly, Moving Ahead are seeing organisations turning to address and support all levels of diversity across all protected characteristics within their workforce, as well as broader diversity strands, such as socio-economic background, thinking styles and their intersectionalities. AMP this year is driven to echo these narratives and unite the industry with a common focus, creating a community of leaders committed to their industry, their personal growth and that of others.

“This programme has gone from strength to strength since it began. We’ve had tremendous interest and backing for AMP within the industry. As the scheme enters its fourth year, it’s clear that there continues to be a demand for this kind of support as actuaries navigate their career path. I am particularly pleased to see the further broadening of the scope to encompass under-represented groups and encourage such groups and employers to embrace this. The IFoA seeks to provide opportunities to help the breadth of its members fulfil their potential and programmes like these help to support that aim.” Chika Aghadiuno, Chair of the IFoA’s Diversity Action Group

This programme is ready to go and is delivered in full by Moving Ahead, making it a really simple and easy opportunity for organisations to support colleagues during this extremely challenging time.

Participating organisations are required to put forward equal numbers of mentees and mentors: Mentees can be female actuaries at any level, male or female actuaries at a career transition point (e.g. returning from a career break or considering a change in working pattern), male actuaries currently at mid-management level and responsible for managing female actuaries, or male or female actuaries who consider themselves to be from an under-represented group. Mentors are male or female senior leaders, either actuaries or professionals with a good knowledge of the actuarial profession. Organisations are asked to draw from their diversity networks as much as possible, including male or female actuaries who consider themselves to be from an under-represented group.  A further change in 2021 is that participating organisations are able to include mentees and mentors from their satellite offices outside the UK.

Mentees and mentors are expertly matched based on skills, knowledge and experience. Each partnership is matched cross-company and is designed to pair participants with different experiences so they learn from diverse perspectives. This safe, supportive space enables respectful curiosity, storytelling and guidance.  It’s also true that this can advance the awareness and skills of leaders to become more inclusive in their onward conversations and actions with colleagues and individuals in their life.

Mentoring pairs will be supported and equipped for their partnership through Moving Ahead’s live learning events and extensive online materials, including videos and digital reflection exercises. With effective training, structure and support, these relationships enable diversity of thought, strengthen participants’ ability to walk in the shoes of others and, ultimately, foster wellbeing and inclusion.

“My mentor helped me to really analyse my work situation and identify where things weren’t working for me and what I needed to change. This along with an injection of courage from one of the programme events lead to a series of conversations which resulted in a new role with different responsibilities. For the first time since my return from maternity leave I finally felt like I was making a difference and adding value. My confidence has returned and I’m excited for what I’ll be working on for the next few months. It was invaluable having someone external to give their impartial and unbiased opinion about my situation.” Hannah Johnston, Mentee, Lloyds Banking Group

If you would like to hear how your organisation can be involved this year, please contact Abbie at Moving Ahead: Abbie.Hildrew@moving-ahead.org. You can find out more about AMP on the Moving Ahead website here.

 

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