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Career Growth and Development

Meeting our ex-Army employee - Matthew

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General

Content Type

Blog

** DEFAULT postresults.publishdate - en-GB **

09/04/2021

Summary

We spoke to Matthew, who prior to joining us at Admiral, was in the Army for over eighteen years, serving in the 3rd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment. As you may know, Admiral signed the Armed Forces Covenant in 2019. We are committed to supporting reservists, ex-armed forces personnel and their families, both inside and outside of the workplace. Before coming to work at Admiral, Matthew was in the Army for over eighteen years. We caught up with him to hear more about his transition out of the Army and into Admiral… Could you tell us a bit more about your experiences in the army? I joined the Army at 15, right after I took my GCSEs. I thought I was the hardest kid in the world when I joined, but I found out I wasn’t! Honestly, I was a bit of a tear-away, and joining the Army did me a world of good. I had a really varied experience. I started out in the Coldstream Guards – wearing a red jacket and a furry hat outside Buckingham Palace, living in Westminster and then Chelsea barracks. One year, instead of taking part in the Trooping of the Colour, I decided to try out for P-Company. I was successful, got my wings, and joined 3 Para (3rd Battalion, Parachute Company). I saw a lot of conflict – Northern Ireland, the First Gulf War, Bosnia and Serbia, the Second Gulf War, Afghanistan. I had some good days, and some bad days; in the army your bad days are really bad. How did you find the transition out of the army? Transitioning was hard, but eventually I made the choice to leave and be with my family. Right before lockdown, I was a guest speaker at my children’s school, and one of the children asked me what the hardest thing about being in the Army was. I told them that physically it was P-Company selection, but that mentally the hardest thing was leaving. When I drove out of the camp for the last time, and realised it was all over, I pulled my car to the side of the road and cried my eyes out. I didn’t want to leave. The Army is more than a job, it becomes a massive part of your life. I was so young when I joined that there were things I had never had to do for myself before, like going to the doctors and getting a bus. Civvy street can be really overwhelming. After eighteen years, I was very institutionalized, and to an extent I probably will be for the rest of my life. The Army is a completely different world, and the transition out takes a lot of adjustment. Whilst I was in the Army, there were times where I thought I would prefer an office job, mainly to have a rest from running up and down mountains with my kit on. In reality, the transition to an office job was mind-numbing, and I wished I was back on those mountains. It took time, but I adjusted. That’s what they teach you in the Army - improvise, adapt and overcome, and that’s what I did. How did you come to work at Admiral? It took me a while to end up at Admiral. Straight after I left the Army, I worked in Close Protection and Counter Terrorism, which is a natural step for a lot of ex-servicemen. After a while, life events took over and I had to step away. I ended up in Technical Support for a while, and if I’m really honest, it wasn’t the job for me. I didn’t mind the job so much, but the place I worked was difficult. I’m based Swansea way, so I ran into lots of people who worked at Admiral, and I heard nothing but good things. When I first joined, I was shocked at how different it was to my old company. On my first day of training, when we were talking about car parking arrangements, I asked my manager a question about bringing a motorcycle to work. She told me that she didn’t know the answer, but that she’d find out. Within ten minutes, she got back to me with the information I needed. I remember being shocked. At the last place I’d worked I would ask a relevant question and most of the time, I’d never hear back. The level of communication at Admiral is similar to the Army, and it was really refreshing. How have you found working at Admiral? Honestly, it is rare to work for a company that supports you like Admiral does. I know that because Admiral isn’t the first company I have worked for since leaving the Army. I struggle with PTSD, but my Team Managers have always got behind me and supported me, even when I’m having a bad day. It’s quite easy for me to slip into the squaddie mentality of ‘I’m fine’, but I’ve worked a lot with People Services (HR) and they have given me the support that I need. It’s the first time since I’ve got out of the Army that I know I’m working for a company that supports me as much as they can and understands my situation. Civvy street can be really hard, and that’s why it is so important to know that you’re in a place where you will be looked after no matter what. That is what Admiral is for me. What are you up to at the moment? I currently work as a Customer Loyalty Representative. My role includes development, so I get to do some coaching within my team and the department which I really enjoy. I also spend time monitoring other peoples’ roles and improving our customer service. There is a lot of opportunity for progression at Admiral, and I am excited to be moving onwards and upwards, building another career for myself. What transferable skills do you feel the Army has given you? I think the biggest one is communication. In the Army, you’re constantly interacting with people you don’t know, so you really develop the skill of confident communication, which has definitely come in handy in my current role. Flexibility is another one. In the Army, there is a saying that you have Plan A and Plan B, but it’ll be Plan C that comes into play. And it’s true – there have been times when I have planned and trained for months, only for something to not happen. Similarly, having a sense of humour, because it keeps you grounded and helps you face any situation. In my current role, if things don’t go exactly to plan it doesn’t phase me, because I can keep things in perspective, find a solution, and move on. I suppose you could say it has made me more resilient. What do you enjoy most about working at Admiral? No one shouts around here and compared to other places I’ve worked that’s a real plus! Apart from that, there’s real variety in the people you speak to on the phones and I really enjoy interacting with customers. I’ve always believed that it’s worthwhile coming to work if you can help someone out, and make their life just a little bit easier, and in my current role I get to do that. One of the customers I spoke to the other day told me that I had made her day, and it’s the rewarding moments like that which make it enjoyable. That’s why I love my role and being a part of Admiral.

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Valvanuz  Guerrero-Perez

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Valvanuz Guerrero-Perez

Valvanuz  Guerrero-Perez

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Valvanuz Guerrero-Perez

What we’re doing to help make South Wales a fertile tech landscape - WCCF’s Graduate Programmes

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Admiral Tech

Content Type

Blog

** DEFAULT postresults.publishdate - en-GB **

29/03/2021

Summary

Building on the success of our long-standing partnership with the WCCF’s Graduate Programmes, we’re playing a key role in the inception of the new Fast-Track Data and AI scheme. As a proud Welsh employer, we’re thrilled to play our part in helping make our South Wales home a fertile tech landscape.  The eight-month post-graduate programme has been conceived to develop Data Science and AI Professionals locally. Those on the programme benefit from: An initial eight-month placement in one of our analyst areasAn induction and the benefit of non-technical training provided by our in-house training function, Admiral AcademyA business mentor and graduate buddy (someone who’s enjoyed success on one of our in-house programmes)A 4-week bootcamp and applied post-graduate Diploma qualification from the University of South Wales Rowena Morgan, Programme Manager at WCCF, explains Admiral’s role in the AI graduate scheme: “We are proud to work in partnership with Admiral to create and retain graduate talent in Data and AI skills in Wales. The model is an excellent example of a collaborative industry and academic initiative that is unique to Wales and the UK, supported by the European Social Fund. The calibre of the graduates recruited for the Programme has been excellent and we look forward to continue working closely with Admiral and wider consortium employers, to build new talent pools in Data and AI to support our employer’s current and future tech skill requirements.” Our three talented graduates have been placed in growing areas of our business; Risk, Claims and Van MI (management information). Meet Lauraine, Alex and Stuart, our new starters. What projects will you be working on? Lauraine: My role is an Intern Data Scientist within the Risk team. In terms of projects that I am working on, Admiral has been great at giving me a lot of responsibility- which is great but a little daunting at times. My manager, the Graduate Team and other colleagues are so supportive of me though, if I ever get stuck, they always have an answer or point me in the direction of someone who will know the answer! At University, we are learning three different coding languages (R, Python and SAS) and it’s amazing to have the opportunity to apply that knowledge to my role. I think Alex and I are working on similar projects, in terms of moving data into the Cloud- which is great because we can always help each other! I’m also leading a project to create a dashboard that Admiral will use long-term to analyse the different variables in risk. What has been the best thing about working for Admiral so far? Alex: I am absolutely loving it! We only started full-time a couple weeks ago but I think what immediately stood out for me is how calm and relaxed everything at Admiral is. I mean, it is not often you see people wearing hoodies to work! The relaxed atmosphere really put the other graduates and I at ease on our first day.  It is exciting to be with such a well-known brand and also work on an exciting project that will put my R skills to the test to help with monthly reporting and with the larger scheme of moving over to the new cloud-based services. It is great to have been alongside other graduates, from other schemes, during the induction too. It is great to be in the same boat as a group of other people and we have been able to integrate with them well throughout the induction. It just means that there are other people we have been able to network and build long-term connections with.Our trainer at Admiral Academy, Ashley, is so energetic and infectious with his energy that you just engage so quickly with his sessions and learn a lot about the business and self-development. Over the last few days, we have been learning about presentation skills which will be so helpful in our placements and further into the future. The induction, trainers and Graduate Team have been so flexible in ensuring that we have freedom to do our university work as well. From the kindness and supportiveness that I have seen across Admiral, I’m sure this flexibility will continue in my placement.What are you most looking forward to in your placement?Stuart: I’m really looking forward to doing something meaningful and implementing something to benefit Admiral long-term. My team has been great at giving me lots of training and the responsibility to have a lot of control over my project’s direction. When speaking with my manager, there has been lots of ideas thrown around about what project to lead and it looks like I’ll be helping Ancillaries with understanding customer patterns in this area, so I’m really looking forward to getting my teeth into it! Like the others have said, I feel well supported at Admiral and my team are happy to give me pointers if I have a question about anything!

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Loren Jones

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Loren Jones

Loren Jones

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Loren Jones

Part time working: attaining balance in different areas improves performance in all areas.

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Admiral Pioneer

Content Type

Blog

** DEFAULT postresults.publishdate - en-GB **

26/03/2021

Summary

For me, part time working boils down to a simple philosophy: attaining balance in different areas improves performance in all areas – Gunnar Peters, CEO Veygo. So, who am I?   I’m German, born and raised, and came across the channel before Abitur (German equivalent of A-levels) to experience a new culture and actually learn English (some may question when this will actually start). I met a girl and, after a few years’ long distance, found myself engaged and heading back to the UK to study Maths at Cardiff University. I quickly fell in love with Wales and Cardiff and decided this was where I wanted to settle. My life in Admiral started as a Pricing Programmer in 2008 and I worked my way up in different functions like New Products, part of large-scale programmes, IT and much more. As you can probably tell by now, I never had a clear vision of what I wanted to do – this continues to the present day. I essentially always wanted to find something that I was good at and then making sure that I like it, not the other way round. My latest adventure is leading Mobility within Admiral Pioneer. I am part of the Admiral Pioneer Leadership team, which is really exciting as we bring the best talent across different industries together to concept and launch new ventures. Mobility is currently synonymous with Veygo, which I have been heading up for nearly a year now. However, Mobility will be broader than Veygo and insurance as we explore electric vehicles, ride sharing, green fleet and mobility as a service. It has its own setup and functional organisation and operates as its own business, which is exciting and we have some very ambitious goals.  In spring 2017, I made the decision that I wanted to go back to University and do a Msc in Applied Statistics. Admiral was kind enough to support this, even though it meant that I would only be in the office for 4 days a week for most of the year, during exam periods even less so. Between deciding on and starting the Applied Statistics course, I applied for the role of Head of Telematics (also known by many as Black Box Insurance), taking over a team of 20 and the Profit and Loss account responsibilities for the product. My 4-day week was acknowledged and supported throughout the interview process and so I started a new role in the same summer as I went back to school after 10 years of no formal education. The following 2 years taught me that being busier than ever before can be energising! Strangely, the stress of one took away from the pressure of the other. It provided me space away from work and thus perspective. It also helped my team. They knew when I was not in the office and knew that they did not have to run everything past me. Being in the office 4 days a week provided a weird sense of clarity between us all. Reflecting on this time, I realise that this helped the team feel more empowered. The one day out of the office means that the team had to step up to fill the void on those occasions, which I believe enabled them to have increased exposure in the business and to develop their own abilities while knowing that support was available at the end of the phone if they needed it. Several of my direct reports have themselves been promoted into other roles, which would suggest that this process has helped us all. Everybody who knows me also knows that I struggle to switch off, my mind is always going, and I work very hard. But I have learned the hard way that just like when you work out in the gym too hard for too long, you need recovery periods to continue to perform at the same level over a long time. A 3-day weekend gives additional recovery time and a chance to recharge to bring more energy to the working week. So, in autumn 2019 I asked to formally go to 4 days, while reducing my hours to 90%. It also means I am more present for my 2 children and can actually be of real help with the childcare duties. I have now been promoted twice since working a 4-day week and it has had multiple benefits to me, my team and family: ·       I work hard and, whereas I previously worked myself towards burnout when things got tough, now there is an energy buffer that enables me to step up and carry the team in these moments. Working 4 days gives me enough time to recharge and be there, really there, for my team. ·       The extra day also gives me the time to develop myself further. Doing an Msc and creating real space for a coach and mentor to make the most of their valuable input rather than trying to squeeze this in. Having a day off allows time to digest wider reading and previous conversations, allowing space for creative solutions to present themselves in a way that rarely happens in a day packed with meetings. ·       The team has more obvious opportunity to step up: delegation is necessary, not an option. This gives development opportunities and empowers the team. Did I mention that many of my direct reports are succeeding in their careers too? ·       My Children and wife have more quality time with me (mind you, they may see this as a negative) ·       My wife has more freedom because I pick up more of the childcare burden and as a result has taken on additional responsibilities in work. ·       I keep my lightness and unique character for work and home equally, reducing the risk of mood swings. Admiral have even set up a new initiative to embrace new Ways of Working (WoW) that give even more flexibility in where and how we can work. The idea will be for our business to run in a hybrid working environment with people at home and people in the office at the same time. There will be a lot of testing and learning as we go, but it’s a really exciting project and I’m looking forward to seeing the changes that are made in the future. If you consider reducing your hours, working different times to others or dropping a day here is some advice from me: Understand why you want to do it. How will it benefit you, your family, your team, your career? Creating this clarity will help you feel confident enough to ask. There is still a stigma that reducing your hours or the number of days you work means you are not ambitious, you want to step back, you are disengaged, etc. This stigma is likely internal as well as external: challenge the little voice in the back of your mind that doubts what can be achieved by part-timers! But if you understand why you are asking then you can tell a true story, you can ask with conviction and you know how you will measure the success of the change. If you decide, like me, to drop a day, make sure you drop it fully. No access to work! The team can always reach you on the phone if they truly need something from you, but otherwise, you are off. Do this for a few months as otherwise it is difficult to get the benefit you desire. And make sure you enjoy the day and achieve what you wanted to on that day. For me, it was self-development and doing the school runs to spend time with the kids. What is yours?

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Allison Martin

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Allison Martin

Allison Martin

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Allison Martin

How to: Prepare for your interview with Jessica Sutton

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Graduates and Students

Content Type

Blog

** DEFAULT postresults.publishdate - en-GB **

17/03/2021

Summary

‘Talk us through your CV’ This is your chance to sell yourself in a few minutes (we’d advise between three and five). Talk through the most relevant parts of your CV, not all your experiences will be relevant for the role and it’s fine to focus more on those that are. Focus on concise communication. If talking about your university, for example, perhaps mention just one or two specific modules. This first impression is the part of the interview that you can prepare for so practice a polished introduction! We may ask about a specific module, project, or dissertation topic. Make sure you have a recent example in mind and be ready to explain it clearly.    Research the company We are looking for proof that you have researched the company, what we do, and what the business is all about. Show us you’ve gone beyond the job description. Try to avoid just talking about the expected numbers and statistics and instead focus on demonstrating an understanding of Admiral and what the figures mean. We’d expect you to have a basic understanding of how the business works and how Car Insurance works. We appreciate you might not understand all the details (this is fine!), but some research and awareness will help you dig deeper into the interview questions. A good idea, particularly if you don’t have car insurance, is to run a quote on our website. This will give you an idea of how the rating works! Consider our company culture. We may be a business, but there’s more to Admiral than the financials and the products we sell. Take a look at what we’re like as a workplace and consider how this impacts your motivation to work with us.  You can learn more about Admiral culture here. Motivation for the role Competence isn’t enough when it comes to the role. We want to see genuine motivation – why do you want to work at Admiral and why do you want this particular role? Consider the working environment, the company culture, and the elements of the job description that sparked your interest. What stood out to you and made you apply? Prepare your questions We’ll give you time at the end to ask questions. This is a perfect opportunity to express your motivation and curiosity. Take time to think carefully about what you may like to ask here - we’d suggest sticking to no more than two or three.   Of course, if you have more questions following the interview, you can always follow these up with the Recruitment Officer at a later date. Good Luck!

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Jessica Sutton

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Jessica Sutton

Jessica Sutton

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Jessica Sutton

Why authenticity matters – with Penguin Portals Director Elena Betes

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MBA

Content Type

Blog

** DEFAULT postresults.publishdate - en-GB **

16/03/2021

Summary

Elena Betes joined us on the Future Leaders Program and helped found Rastreator in 2008 in Spain our first Price Comparison site outside of the UK. Since January 2014 she has overseen our Group Comparison Portals. She shares her experience and advice to MBAs considering a career with Admiral.   What have been some of the best moments of your career? I feel proud when looking back at something I’ve created. I feel proud to have created environments that people enjoy working in. There will always be ups and downs, but when things are working well, results are strong, and the team is doing their best, that’s the moment when I step back and think ‘wow, look how much we have achieved together!’. What do you love most about your role? My role right now consists of overseeing the ‘penguins’, which includes all our comparison sites around the world. They all require completely different supervision and support, so I have to adjust constantly. Adapting to the needs of the people that I'm working with is highly rewarding. I love it. I also love the visibility I get from working with these international operations. I love connection, seeing ideas from one place and linking them with people from another. It's allowed me to focus on my strengths instead of on my weaknesses.  What advice would you give to MBAs joining us on how they can be successful? Firstly, no one will tell you exactly what to do or how to do it. It's about you proactively defining your scope, discovering your ambition, and then convincing everyone to come along with you. Don't expect someone to tell you exactly how things should be done and be ready to bring your creativity and initiative to drive change and to make things happen. It’s also important that you embrace the culture and enjoy getting your hands dirty. You need to be willing to roll up your sleeves and get things done yourself. It’s also important you have a strategic mind and be able to connect the dots between business problems and opportunities. What do you look for when hiring an MBA? I think it comes down to a combination of factors. The intellectual level of the people that we hire is very high. That’s the base.  But it must be coupled with being a good person! We care about doing the right thing for our customers and for our staff and we look for MBAs that will embody this. At Admiral there are no politics; there's a lot of intellectual discussion and challenge, but our priority is always collaboration. So, we love it when people come in with ideas, optimism, and a willingness to work together and get things done.  What can Admiral offer MBAs that is different to any other big company? Firstly, an environment that cares fundamentally about people. It’s simple but I think it is one of the single most important values when looking for a long-term career with a company. I don't think a lot of companies our size could say that they have maintained a culture of innovation and transparency from the start up until the present day. The fact that we still make decisions based on what we feel is the right thing for customers, employees, and shareholders is quite special. Secondly, it’s that Admiral offers you a lot of space to learn, to invent, and to be yourself. I think this freedom to be authentic is one of the reasons behind our success. I love that we’ve maintained an entrepreneurial mindset giving people space to come in and make mistakes, to test things, and to learn from both failures and triumphs. You can find out more about the journeys our MBAs have taken here or read more about our MBA Leadership Programs. Alternatively, follow our MBA Leadership page on Linkedin.

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Connie  Hogg

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Connie Hogg

Connie  Hogg

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Connie Hogg