Sophie Timms, head of corporate affairs at Zurich UK, explains how the insurance company is busy inspiring young people to become more passionate about numbers.

At Zurich we are committed to sustainability, ensuring that our business activities have a positive impact on society, the environment and the economy.  

By integrating social and environmental concerns into our business operations we can make a real difference and help create social change. Corporate responsibility and sustainability is at the heart of our business through the way we operate in our marketplace, workplace, community and environment.

Zurich in the community

As a leading insurance company, we understand how important numeracy is to our everyday lives.

One of the ways we’re giving back to the community is by trying to inspire more young people to get interested in numbers, working with schools through our Youth Skills Programme across the UK to help raise the standard of financial literacy, as well as supporting National Numeracy Day.

Back to school for Zurich volunteers

We’re currently partnering with five schools in London, Birmingham and Farnborough, helping students aged 11-17 gain a better understanding of risk and financial literacy.  

Volunteers from across the company deliver the three-hour financial literacy module to students on a class by class basis, covering everything from the basics of bank accounts to budgeting using practical exercises to help them feel more comfortable working with numbers and figures.   

We particularly work with schools in more disadvantaged areas, with the aim of giving students opportunities and experiences that they might not get from friends and family.

Zurich volunteers also offer a fresh and personal perspective on careers advice, opening eyes to the opportunities available in the insurance industry and lifting aspirations for those who may have had little experience of the world of work.  

We’re delighted with the success of our programme with fantastic feedback from students and teachers alike.

Employee engagement through volunteering

As well as benefiting students, feedback from volunteers shows they value the opportunity to give back to the community by sharing their skills and experience.

Volunteer feedback consistently shows that our commitment to the community is one of the key aspects of working for Zurich that they really value, and it’s something we will continue to support for the long term. Earlier this year Zurich increased its paid volunteering leave from one to three days a year.

Financial literacy partnerships

In addition to our Youth Skills programme, we continue to explore other ways to inspire more young people to become passionate about numbers and raise awareness of career opportunities in the insurance sector.  

One of the ways we do this is by partnering with other organisations with common aims and values around financial literacy.

Our partnership with ‘Young Careers’ – a government-backed pilot designed to shape the future of careers advice in England – is one such example.  The initiative aims to strengthen links between business and education to improve guidance given in schools, leaving young people inspired and informed around their opportunities.

Consumer initiatives

More recently we’ve partnered with consumer organisations to try and inspire others to become more financially literate.  

We’re proud of our sponsorship of the first ever National Numeracy Day, held on 16 May this year, celebrating numeracy. The launch event at the London Stock Exchange, spearheaded by consumer champion Martin Lewis, generated extensive coverage in the media, helping to raise awareness about how important numbers are in everyday life and why we should all be numbers people.  

To find out more about the campaign check out nationalnumeracy.org.uk.

We’ve also teamed up with financial services training organisation New Model Business Academy as a sponsor of their new ‘Young Persons Guide to Money’. The guide offers top tips on money management, from how to budget and save money through to mortgages, saving and retirement planning.

Long term vision

Since launching our Youth Skills Programme in 2016 we’ve helped over 1,100 students become more financially literate and raised awareness of career opportunities in the insurance sector. We believe that charity and consumer campaigns have a role to play in helping the public become more numerate, and urge other companies in the City to get involved and helps us improve numeracy levels across the UK.

Sophie Timms is the head of corporate affairs at Zurich UK.

In this article