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Episode 89: Breaking Barriers and Building Careers: Zurich’s Apprenticeship Program is Changing Lives

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On this episode of The Corelink Solution we’re going to delve into the world of apprenticeships. I recently had the pleasure of hosting a podcast with Phyllis Higgins from the career team, Aaron Henry, Tatiana, and Lydia, all of whom are part of Zurich’s apprenticeship program. We discussed the importance of apprenticeships, the challenges, and the growth experienced by the apprentices.

The Birth of Zurich’s Apprenticeship Program

Phyllis explained that Zurich developed their apprenticeship program in response to a need for business apprenticeships in the United States. This decision was inspired by the success of their parent company in Switzerland. Since its inception in 2016, the program has grown significantly, with 90 apprentices hired last year and plans to hire 70 this year.

One of the initial challenges was finding managers who would buy into the program and effectively manage the apprentices. Phyllis emphasized the importance of starting small and testing the program before scaling it up.

Apprentices’ Experiences: From Zero to Hero

Tatiana, Aaron, and Lydia shared their personal experiences with the program. For Tatiana, this was her first experience in an office environment. She was convinced to join the program by her sister, who highlighted the financial benefits, such as Zurich paying for education.

Aaron, who is in the infotech business unit, expressed how life-changing the program has been for him. With zero experience in information technology, the program provided him with an opportunity to pursue his interest while working full-time and learning on the job.

Lydia, who took time off after high school to study abroad in Zimbabwe, found out about the program through a close family friend who works at Zurich. She saw it as the perfect opportunity to work and pursue her degree simultaneously.

Overcoming Challenges and Building Professional Skills

We discussed the challenges and growth experienced by the apprentices. They talked about adapting to the corporate environment, networking, and building professional skills. Aaron mentioned overcoming imposter syndrome and gaining confidence in the IT field. Lydia highlighted her increased self-confidence and ability to network. Tatiana emphasized the importance of flex work and the support provided by the program.

I acknowledged the generational and conditional differences in communication styles and encouraged the apprentices to step out of their comfort zones. I also shared my own experience as a natural introvert and how I learned to flex my style in different environments.

The Importance of Feeling Valued and Heard

Phyllis Higgins from the career team agreed with me on the importance of feeling valued and heard in the workplace. She emphasized the need for employees to know that their opinions and voices matter. I jokingly suggested that Phyllis’ statement would make a great Zurich commercial.

The Benefits of the Zurich Apprenticeship Program

Aaron Henry shared his thoughts on how the program is doing. He mentioned that he joined Zurich to help find talented individuals like the ones on the call. He highlighted the opportunity to work and have education expenses covered, without accumulating debt. Aaron also mentioned that there are still job openings in various locations.

Eligibility Requirements for the Program

When I asked about the eligibility requirements for the program, Aaron explained that applicants must be 18 years old, US citizens, and able to balance work and school. The program offers a hybrid work and school schedule, with some states requiring in-person attendance and others allowing virtual learning. Aaron emphasized that the program provides training, so prior insurance experience is not necessary.

Wrapping Up

I thanked the team for their time and directed listeners to visit holycoachtechnet.com/zurich for more information. Phyllis added that people should consider including Zurich in their college plans as an alternative option.

In conclusion, our discussion highlighted the importance of feeling valued at work and provided information about the Zurich program, its benefits, and eligibility. If you’re considering joining an apprenticeship program, Zurich’s program is definitely worth considering.

Do you or someone you know work with youth? Sign up for our Success on Your Own Terms for youth and let’s work together to impact the next generation. Want to support the work? Make a one-time donation or shop our online store. Thank you for listening. And until next time be empowered, be inspired and be accountable.

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