Jane Hamilton explains how the Scottish Board is tackling the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and shares some of its current initiatives.
Under Regulation 15 of the IFoA, the purpose of the Scottish Board is “to foster the actuarial community in Scotland”.
The Board consists of seven Scottish Constituency Council members, a number of co-opted members, plus representatives from two Scottish student societies – the Faculty of Actuaries Students’ Society and Glasgow Actuarial Students’ Society. The Board’s current leader is Dermot Grenham, supported by IFoA head of engagement Debbie Atkins.
Like everyone, members of the Board have had to adapt to ensure we could continue providing services to those in our geographic area of Scotland during the COVID-19 pandemic. Up until March 2020 we held quarterly meetings in the Edinburgh IFoA offices, but since the lockdown we have moved to holding more regular, shorter meetings online. This has allowed us to continue to serve our Scottish-based members. Some key deliverables include:
Moving our KSS events online
Knowledge Sharing Scotland (KSS) was set up by the Board in 2012 to offer locally accessible CPD opportunities across Scotland. These events are organised by a subgroup of the Board for members and others in Scotland. Members volunteer to organise, host and run these small, local, informal events in Glasgow, Stirling and Edinburgh. The discussion topics are wide-ranging – from new developments in actuarial science to legislative and policy changes – and the events promote open and active discussion.
After being quick to adopt Zoom, the Board was able to deliver these events online from April; as a result, our online sessions have seen record numbers for KSS events, with many reaching the 100 delegate maximum. Recent speakers have included Maggie Craig, the Financial Conduct Authority’s head of department for Scotland, and Benny Higgins, who is leading the Scottish Government’s Advisory Group on Economic Recovery – a consultation that the Board and the IFoA Public Affairs team contributed to earlier this year.
Learn 2 Leap programme
2020 also marked the 10th anniversary of the IFoA, and the Board saw this as a great opportunity to use some of the Endowment Fund to run an online six-month development programme for members. The Learn 2 Leap programme supports participants in realising their professional potential by developing the necessary mindset, skills and awareness to succeed in a changing marketplace. More than 100 members are participating virtually during the next six months and the Board is delighted that IFoA President Tan Suee Chieh is joining one of the sessions.
In addition, the Board is also involved in promoting data science, public affairs and engagement with employers in Scotland, as well as many other activities that help maintain a vibrant actuarial community. Every quarter the Board issues a newsletter to highlight important information, and we have recently introduced vlogs to give a more personal touch to our communications. We also regularly post updates, news and articles on the Scottish Actuarial Community LinkedIn group. We encourage all members of the Scottish constituency around the globe, and members based in Scotland, to join this group at bit.ly/2UeQwDs and contribute to the conversation.
Developing an online climate quiz for Maths Week
The Board has supported Maths Week Scotland for a number of years. This year, initiated and driven forward by the Board with support from the IFoA Foundation, and in collaboration with the IFoA Sustainability Board and the IFoA Careers team, the Board is proud to have delivered an IFoA online climate quiz. This interactive quiz, targeted at 14-18-year-old pupils, featured two rounds of maths questions on the subject of the environment. This encouraged students who enjoy maths to see how their skills could benefit the environment. The Board hopes this quiz will now be used by the Careers team to promote maths to students in other locations.
Jane Hamilton leads the Scottish Board’s Communications Subgroup