• Role: Actuarial Trainee
  • Location: Guildford
  • University: Bath
  • Degree: BSc (Hons) Mathematics
  • Organisation: Xafinity Punter Southall

Gemma Jefferies

I completed my six week summer internship with Punter Southall at the Guildford office in 2010. I started with one other summer student in the office, which made the experience feel much less daunting. I was placed in one of the three actuarial teams in the office which each consisted of ten people of varying levels of qualification. Right from the start I felt like part of the team and I was welcomed by the friendly atmosphere in the office.

Beginning my training

From the first week all the summer students (including those from other offices), were given formal training. This gave me a good background and introduction to pensions, which meant that I could put the work that I was being given into context, and helped me to understand what the rest of the team were talking about! It was also a great opportunity to meet the other summer students and share experiences with them, as the training sessions themselves were very relaxed and run by junior actuarial trainees.

Throughout the six weeks I was able to get involved in many different areas of pensions and to work with lots of different people, including people from outside of my team. This included data work for an actuarial valuation, producing benefit statements for members, calculating commutation and early retirement factors and getting involved with some of the administration teams’ work.

My team were very supportive, spending time explaining each piece of work to me and the wider context in which my calculations would be used. I felt comfortable enough to ask questions and as a result I have learnt a lot.


A key aspect of the summer internship programme is the project that I was given on the first day. We worked in groups by location and were asked to produce a written report detailing our ideal recruitment strategy for the company.

We were asked to present our strategy to some senior members of staff and the other teams in an assessment day. Although this sounds scary, everyone worked hard to ensure a relaxed and friendly atmosphere and I actually enjoyed it. There was also a really nice lunch afterwards which was a great opportunity to talk to people from other offices and to spend some time with the other summer students.

The social side is really great in the Guildford office. I was lucky enough to start my internship on the week of the summer event. That year we took advantage of the sunshine and had a barbecue in Stoke Park. I found that this was a great way to get to know everyone in the office in an informal atmosphere. There are also drinks celebrations whenever the actuarial students pass any exams or qualify as well as team nights out.

I would definitely class my summer internship as a rewarding and enjoyable experience. I have had a good insight into what working as an actuary is really like and what the job involves on a daily basis, as well as working with many different people and enjoying the atmosphere in the Guildford office. Most importantly, afterwards Punter Southall offered me a graduate position, which is the ultimate reward!

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