Lending an Actuarial Hand

At last month’s Melbourne YAP, Queenie Chow and Mandy Burns spoke about lending an actuarial hand through various volunteering programs. Alan Wu takes us through the this eye-opening session featuring Actuaries helping the world become a better place.

On the 12 May 2016, the Young Actuaries Program (YAP) members gathered together for the second instalment in the ‘Evening Speaker Series’ of the year – Lending an Actuarial Hand. Queenie Chow, a long term member of the Melbourne YAP community and Mandy Burns – CEO of Ardoch Youth Foundation talked about volunteering work they had been involved in. They shared with the attendees some of the great volunteering opportunities available to actuaries, both in and outside of Australia. The night certainly inspired many of us to make some contributions through volunteering and to warm others by lending an actuarial hand.




Queenie shared her recent volunteering experience with Actuaries Without Borders (AWB). She started her presentation by giving an introduction to the International Actuarial Association (IAA), the organisation which oversees AWB. For many of the young attendees it was informative to know the structure of the IAA to which the Actuaries Institute (Australia) is a member. It was interesting to learn the scale and network of the international actuarial community (total of approximately 74,000 Associates and Fellows, including around 800 volunteers scattered all over the planet).

Queenie gave the audience a detailed introduction to the Actuaries Without Borders program, which sits within the IAA. In many parts of the world, there is a lack of actuarial professionals, and so it is hard for actuarial students in those countries to get access to the learning resources required to build strong actuarial practices. Queenie shared with us the experiences she had whilst volunteering in Africa and gave the attendees an overview on the types of opportunities actuaries can get involved with through AWB. These include participating in short term projects in developing countries, a global mentoring program, book donations and many more.  




The second speaker of the evening was Mandy Burns from the Ardoch Youth Foundation. Ardoch is a charity that provides education support for children and young people in socially disadvantaged communities. The vision of the organisation is that every child and young person’s potential is realised through full participation in education. Mandy explained to the audience that there is still a large number of children in Australia who cannot receive an adequate amount of support for their literacy and numeracy development. She believes actuaries can play an important role as advocates for the importance of numerical education.

The Ardoch program helps facilitate interaction between volunteers and disadvantaged students with the aim of assisting students in their learning, as well as showing the practical work place application of numeracy skills. The ‘Big Buddies’ (volunteers generally from corporate environments) are paired with a class of ‘Little Buddies’ (primary school children) from different schools. There is also an opportunity for the school kids to visit the ‘Big Buddies’ workplace during the program! The initiative provides an opportunity to inspire the children to dream big and be more confident in learning mathematics and other essential skills.

In the Q&A session, the YAP members showed great interest in these volunteering opportunities. It was a very warm evening for the YAP members to realise the extra value we can offer to the community. Actuaries have played important roles to provide services to the community with significant social impacts. As the next generation of the profession, it is important to remember, lending a hand will always help the world become a better place.

The Young Actuaries Program runs a number of events in Melbourne including evening speaker sessions and networking lunches. For more information please contact me via email and keep an eye on upcoming YAP events in our Events Calendar.

See Queenie’s article: Creating inclusive insurance for all.

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