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Bringing passion to the learning space

Gawain Woolfrey is a Learning Partner at QBE Australia. Having worked in insurance for 18 years, he has all but done a 360 of the industry, working as a senior underwriter, senior broker, senior claims consultant and technical manager. Gawain is bringing his passion for making videos for the web into the insurance learning space and has excellent advice for anyone thinking about a career in insurance.

How did you end up working in insurance? 

I started working in insurance by pure accident. My career began in IT in Singapore working 15 hour days and decided that life wasn’t for me. I started applying for other jobs and an opportunity to work in insurance came up. I thought, ‘Why not? I’ll give it a crack.’ The interview was fun, I felt there was a great culture and sense of purpose. There was a great energy in the room and I felt heard. I thought ‘Oh, wow, I want to work here.’ I ended up being promoted 18 months in.

What exactly do you do as a Learning Partner?

I focus on learning and leadership and ways to support managers and leaders develop themselves and their teams. I manage broker training, underwriting training and any other learning needs that come along. I’m always exploring new ways to introduce learning opportunities. My skills in media are supporting some of these initiatives.

How are you bringing digital into the learning space?

I’m doing more with video, interviewing leaders and getting them to communicate using video so anyone can tap in. Not everyone wants to read anymore so I’m trying to tell stories in short three-minute videos. 

I want to create new ways of learning by moving away from traditional face-to-face teaching methods. Everyone is using Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook. This is how we are engaging and I would like to bring these types of platforms into the learning space. 

What advice do you have to anyone thinking about a career in insurance?

You have to have a curious mind. In my early days in learning and development, I worked with entry-level inductees and I found I could pick who would do well and excel, and it was those who had curious minds. 

You need to be open minded and have emotional intelligence because talking to people and relationship-building is an important part of your job. 

The world is your oyster in insurance. From marketing to IT, the opportunities are endless. Insurance isn’t always an easy ride but it’s a pathway to so much. Don’t stop learning because if you stop learning you’ll stand still.

What do you love most about your job?

I love the development side of things, when you know you’ve engaged with someone. If someone comes out of an experience saying ‘I got a lot out of that’ then I feel complete.