How Howden engaged diverse young talent
The global insurance broker, Howden, put on a careers day with the aim of attracting young talent from diverse backgrounds into the sector.
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Howden Insurance set about holding a ‘World of Insurance Careers Day’ event at Ascot Racecourse to excite students about the industry and attract young talent to the corporation. The event was part of their new ‘All of Us’ campaign, an initiative as part of Howden’s 30th anniversary, which looks at drawing in talent from all walks of life into the organisation.
Hayley Langston, Head of Social Impact at Howden, stated, “We are asking our 15,000 people around the world to make a pledge to make a difference. We have over 100 branches on UK high streets and each is partnering with a school around the world as part of our ‘All of Us’ campaign to get people from all walks of life excited about insurance as a career.”
Lydia Heywood, Equine Development Executive, was a chief lead of the day's event. Having begun horse riding at 11 years old, Heywood started at a local riding school then caught the bug to begin competitive showjumping. Heywood now represents Jamaica in the sport of eventing and set up her own organisation, Cool ridings Equestrian, to attract diversity into the sport, “One of my favourite events would have to be Cornbury House Horse Trials in Oxfordshire and David Howden is the founder and president of the event. This year we welcomed 40 and 50 guests from cool ridings which is an organisation I set up to deliberate diversity in the sport to let people know everyone is welcome within the sport, and hopefully I’ll see some Caribbean teams rise in my lifetime.”
Heywood therefore chose Ascot as a venue for a specific reason, “Ascot was a venue I was keen to work with as Howden are an official partner and it’s just such a spectacle. I know there will be a lot of young people who haven’t visited before, I hope this will encourage them to come back and enjoy some horse riding too.”
Howden wanted to capture the focus of young talent for the careers day, and so having someone with such experience like Lydia leading the way of the event was critical, “ I went to school without knowing what paths were open. Shining a light on the opportunities available is something that’s really close to my heart and I think today has done just that.”
Samantha Oswald, Talent Acquisition Manager at Howden, also touched on the importance of reaching the attention of more disadvantaged groups; “Capturing young talent is incredibly important, not just for Howden, but in general. My dad was a window fitter, my mum worked at Tesco, I actually had no idea that office jobs even existed. It’s events like this that really showcase the careers out there.
“It’s about giving people the choice. This industry often seems inaccessible but that’s not the case. It’s skills like communication and resilience is what we’re looking for. That’s why it’s so important to engage young talent, so they know it is possible no matter what walk of life they may come from.”
The main challenges Howden encountered were thinking about what activities would be suitable for young people. Ensuring the event was engaging, fun and interactive was absolutely key to sustain Gen Z focus.
Howden utilised props through interactive activities, opinion paddles to hold up in panel discussions and written thought sessions. Through these varied and creative activities, Howden demonstrated the varied paths young people can take to get into the industry, and how everyday is different. Focusing on variety and breadth truly captured the attention of the Gen Z attendees.