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“Not only did I learn a lot on finance in a large corporate organisation but I saw how some of their streamlined processes could be implemented in my own role at TPT. For example, I am now looking to digitise our payment runs to reduce the need for hard copies.”
Anthony Johnson, a former Finance Intern at Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT), took up the offer of shadowing the Finance Department at Lockton UK two years ago. In this blog, we highlight his experience with the world’s largest privately-held insurance brokerage firm.
The internship programme at TPT provides employment opportunities and training for blind and partially sighted people. This often includes training and shadowing with external corporate organisations which kindly share their expertise and skills.
Katie Mills, PA to the Chief Finance Officer at Lockton, coordinated the sessions for Anthony across four teams in finance.
Anthony learnt about international tax and the structure and accounting for London insurance market entities. He sat with the budgeting team and Financial Controller to understand more about their roles, looked at analysis with the Financial Planning and Analysis Team and spent a day helping with a payment run, going through the entire process from inputting expenses right through to the payment system.
Katie said: “The week went really well. Anthony already had a lot of knowledge – all the teams were really impressed”.
Anthony said: “The three days were so packed with different things to do. The whole experience was wonderful”.
Kajan Nithiananthan, Financial Controller at Lockton, said: “Anthony gained experience across all areas including tax, so it must have been pretty intense.”
Adam Wenn, Head of the UK Finance Team, said: “Anthony was clearly interested in the business and the industry, and asked a lot of relevant questions. I spent a bit of time talking to him about future career options such as AAT/ ACCA.”
James Hicks, Head of Financial Planning and Analysis, outlined his area of the business, highlighting the useful applications that Lockton uses. He also helped Anthony review and update his CV. James said: “It was a good experience for both sides. He is a bright guy who asked a lot of questions (good thing) and was positively engaged the whole time. Hopefully, he got a lot out of it and is successful in finding a permanent trainee position. Certainly smart enough in my opinion.”
When asked what adaptations Lockton had to put in place to accommodate Anthony’s visual impairment, Katie explained: “We did not have to make any adaptations for Anthony. We have an open plan office with very few hazards in terms of getting around. We do already have a partially sighted employee with us at Lockton. She uses a magnifying glass for closer work and larger font when working on the PC. So, we understand that visual impairment isn’t actually too much of an issue.
“In fact, while Anthony was here we forgot he had any visual impairment. He was just like any other employee here.”
Now registered blind, Anthony was diagnosed with the degenerative eye condition, retinitis pigmentosa, in 2012. Anthony said: “Although mindful of it, they did not make an issue of my disability. The teams were very welcoming – it was like one big family. And I was made to feel part of that”.
The shadowing sessions culminated in a mock interview with Strategic Account Manager, Andy Bear. Anthony said: “The mock interview was invaluable. I received some great advice. It reassured me that my technique was not totally off-point and showed me areas where I could improve”.
Lockton has supported Thomas Pocklington Trust in various ways over the last few years. It held employment workshops at its offices. Attended by blind and partially sighted people from all over the UK, this included information on what employers are looking for and details of its own recruitment processes. It has also hosted mock interviews, provided CV feedback for visually impaired candidates and ran sessions on what makes a good CV and application form.
Andy Bear commented: “Lockton has worked with TPT over the past few years to help people like Anthony deal with the challenges of getting into the workplace. The blind and partially sighted community have much to offer the business community but it can be challenging, even daunting, trying to demonstrate this. Building a few basic skills can be invaluable in making this happen”.
The company recently won the Diversity & Inclusion award at this year’s Broker Innovation Awards in London. Katie said: “Regardless of our CSR commitments, people at Lockton want to contribute to the community – it’s part of our culture.”
“What we would say to other employers is this – the more diverse people you have in the business – the stronger your workforce is. You gain wider perspectives and broaden your skillsets across the organisation.”
The Thomas Pocklington Trust internship programme provides a variety of employment opportunities for blind and partially sighted people. Around 85% of interns leave and gain paid employment in a wide range of sectors.
Anthony has learnt a huge amount not just from the role itself at TPT but also from training and shadowing opportunities, like this one at Lockton.
Corporate organisations can get involved in TPT’s work in various ways for mutual benefit – from sharing expertise and skills to sighted guiding. If any other employers would like to make a positive difference to the lives of blind and partially sighted people and join our corporate volunteer programme please contact us email@example.com.
Lockton Companies Inc. is the world’s largest privately-held insurance brokerage firm, providing insurance, risk management, employee benefits and retirement services. Lockton Companies in London is the headquarters for Lockton UK. It also has offices in Belfast, Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Edinburgh, Finchley, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle
The banner photo shows the Finance Team at Lockton.