Young Actuaries – get with the program

Presidents of the Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane Young Actuaries Program (YAP) explain its mission and colourful calendar of social and professional development events. 

The other day, I asked a colleague (ok, my boss) if he was going to a Young Actuaries Program (YAP) event he was describing to the rest of the team. “YAP? No, I’m far too old for that!” he exclaimed. “Young Actuary” is a relative term but it made me wonder if YAP had a target audience and if it had a specific agenda. Who better to ask than this year’s Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane YAP committee Presidents?

Sophia Sophos – President YAP Melbourne:

Once upon a time, a group of aspiring actuaries congregated with the aim of serving the junior members of the Institute by hosting more events in Melbourne and presenting topics tailored to actuaries who were relatively new in their careers.

The three wishes were:

  • to enhance the soft skills of young actuaries, as the first few years of one’s career is often focused on cementing technical skills;
  • to equip young actuaries with the knowledge and confidence to accelerate their careers; and
  • to provide a networking platform.

Our target audience includes junior members of the profession, newly-qualified and those on their way to qualifying as an actuary.

I helped form this committee as a way to also build my own network as a young professional and a new visitor to Australia. As this story goes, that’s exactly what the Young Actuaries Program has provided me with, and I’ve learnt a few things along the way too!

Kevin Lim – President YAP Brisbane:

Brisbane had its very first event in April 2014. Most people are hazy on the purpose of YAP but it’s an initiative to assist aspiring and early-career actuaries with their development in a range of business skills. Events are fully funded by sponsors and are therefore free for members and non-members alike to attend. The target groups are members of the Institute under the age of 40 and university subscribers. However, we encourage any interested parties to attend.

In 2016, the Brisbane committee is planning for guest speakers in the topic areas of banking, neuroscience to improve concentration and actuarial volunteer opportunities.

Jia Yi Tan – President YAP Sydney:

The Sydney YAP has been established for more than 10 years now and is an Actuaries Institute initiative to bring together young actuarial professionals. We organise a wide range of “fun” and “serious” events for young members to network, as well as to develop their industry knowledge, personal and professional skill sets. Events are free, open to all Institute members, and come with 4 CPD points!

This year the Sydney committee consists of Lisa Ye, Cameron Curko and Gautham Suresh. We are working on the program for the year but please join the YAP Sydney LinkedIn page to get the latest updates on events and meet other young actuarial professionals.

The Young Actuaries Program offers seminars, workshops and discussion forums to assist young members with their careers. Active committees in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur provide interesting programs and networking opportunities for members who are still studying or recently qualified.”

What is the focus of YAP activities?

YAP is a useful platform for young actuaries to learn from well-respected and experienced individuals. Importantly, YAP was formed to host events that cover learning topics specific to young actuaries, as studying is a big part of their path to qualifying.

Therefore, it is also often a session to share tips and tricks to pass the exams as well as insight from those who have written and marked exams.

Presentations have focused on leadership, public speaking, risk culture, career progression, non-traditional fields for actuaries, working abroad and remuneration.

Brisbane YAP has been fortunate to have several well-respected individuals who have agreed to be guest speakers. Topic areas featured have included: local and international industry trends, education and the role of actuaries, attributes of successful actuaries and how to decide which actuarial path is right for you. YAP events also present a perfect networking opportunity to meet actuaries from various companies and sectors.

What sort of social activities does YAP hold?

Kevin Lim – YAP Brisbane:

For our end of year social events, we’ve organised a pool/snooker night and a games night at a venue with hundreds of board games. In each of the social events, everyone has a great time and it’s great to see everyone in a different, more social light.  

Sophia Sophos – YAP Melbourne:

The YAP has now been running for five years in Melbourne. Attendees receive CPD points; a positive indication of the value provided to young members. The forum provides young actuaries with the opportunity to enter the minds of experts within our profession, only repackaged to suit our current knowledge and experience. Above all, the YAP offers not only a networking platform but is itself a network of smart, uniquely trained and driven individuals.

Look out for future upcoming YAP events on the Institute’s events calendar.

CPD: Actuaries Institute Members can claim two CPD points for every hour of reading articles on Actuaries Digital.