Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA)

Deborah Parker

Apprentice Actuary

Deborah, what made you decide to do an apprenticeship?

University is a route I had always expected I would take. Teachers and family had always
described it as an inevitable next step after college but, the truth is, university is not for
everyone. I feel that unless you are 100% enthusiastic about a university education or have
your eye on a career that is, at present, only achievable with a degree, you should take a
look at other alternatives.

As someone who really enjoyed their part time job and the hands on experience that
having a job offers, an apprenticeship was the ideal and logical step into working life that
suited my personality and skills.

So inspirational Deborah! What did you excel in at college?

At college I tried to do as much maths as I could possibly do! I enjoyed science and languages
but it was my interest in mathematics that motivated me to pursue an actuarial career.

How did you hear about the apprenticeship at Mercer?

My search for potential employers started on the internet. Mercer was one employer listed
on the findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk website as having had an apprenticeship scheme,
Karen Bennett was listed as contact, so I enquired as to whether Mercer were recruiting.

Tell us a bit about what you do day to day?

The great thing about my role is that no two days are the same. I am involved in a wide
variety of work including individual member calculations, funding updates, member
communications, trustee action logs.

When I started work at Mercer, I’d not expected to be involved in such a variety of
different projects so early on. I’m treated like a graduate and trusted to produce work to
the same level and quality – which is great, a real confidence boost!

What’s it like going straight from school into a job?

Between A-Levels and starting my apprenticeship, I took a gap year and worked as an au
pair, in a ski resort and in a hotel. Those jobs could be quite full on a certainly required
personal organisation and initiative. This helped me make the transition and also helped
me to decide that I preferred the world of work to a university environment.

Being in a professional firm is different again but I found I really enjoyed it from day one.

What’s next for you?

Given the opportunity, I hope to be able to start the Fellowship exams before completing
the CAA. So I don’t expect to gain the full CAA qualification but do plan to become a
qualified actuary!


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