February for Raretec is all about our 2nd year actuarial placement programme. Each year we visit the 2nd year actuarial students of the UCD and DCU Actuarial programmes. These are some of the smartest young people in Ireland. As a group, they have consistently proved themselves to be a highly motivated, articulate group of individuals, who are all really keen to get their careers started.

Each year it always intrigues me that for many of the students the Raretec visit is the first time that they have really thought about the practical application of their chosen profession. The students have a love and talent for maths and they chose the actuarial path as they want to apply this talent to a practical profession. A few students are lucky enough to have an actuary in the family and so have an idea of what they are getting themselves into. However the vast majority have arrived on these courses solely through advice from a schools careers officer or maths teacher. As a result they really don’t have an understanding of how the commercial actuarial market works or the exam process that they need to follow in order to qualify as an actuary.

We give the actuarial students an overview of the actuarial sector as a career choice, as well as a practical guide on a typical job application process. The class of actuarial students are then given the opportunity to take part in the Raretec 2nd year placement programme. This involves working for 2 – 3 months between June and August within the actuarial departments of companies across Ireland. About 50% of the classes want to participate with the remainder going on J1’s and other travels. The Raretec actuarial programme is a fantastic way for the students to get some paid work experience and the employers also get an early view and connection with the new talent coming through. Many of the placed 2nd years then go on to work for these same organisations for their third year college placements.

The visits that we make to the colleges are really appreciated by the students and equally we enjoy meeting them. We get a feel for how the students feel about the profession and if their training is keeping up with current changes.

This year we have observed two marked trends regarding the 2018’s actuarial students in particular as follows:

1.   There is now more emphasis on IT skills and in particular coding with R and Python – Excel is now a given. Those students who don’t have an official module are learning the basics here in their own time. All students recognise the need to be IT savvy. If you consider Excel wasn’t on the curriculum until a few years ago things are moving forward – whether it’s fast enough time will tell.

2.   There seems to be a much higher proportion of students interested in moving into the trading area and with no intention of completing actuarial exams at all. This was always an option for students but a larger proportion seem to be opting for this route. It seems the power of wealth still holds its attraction for this new generation.

The calibre of students is exceptionally high this year and there are some amazingly talented individuals here. We have 49 students taking part in the Raretec actuarial summer programme of 2018 so if you are an actuarial employer and you have some work that needs a focused and detailed approach this summer, then get in contact and we can introduce you. Send me an email to jacqui.vanteutem@raretec.ie or call me on 015311400 and we can take it from there.

Click here to see the feedback the 2017 class of students gave about the program, and click here to see what our clients thought!