Apprentice Case Study

Axyl- Pinnacol

Axyl says he has always struggled how school delivers knowledge. He’s a good student, but he finds greater benefits in lessons he learns outside of the classroom. As a CareerWise modern youth apprentice, he’s found the right balance of classroom and work-based learning to motivate him. Highly energetic and driven to succeed, his apprenticeship goal is to develop in-demand career skills that he can apply to any profession.

Jumpstarting a Career

Axyl is a junior at the Denver School of Innovation and Sustainable Design. As a learner, he excels when he’s able to observe someone else solving a problem and reproduce his own version of it. But Axyl feels that scenario is not the norm. “There is not a lot of observing at school,” he said.

Because so much emphasis at school is placed on simply completing the work and submitting it to teachers, Axyl does not feel motivated to do his best. “It’s easy to type fast, get work done at a general-quality level, and get feedback.” To Axyl, this system does not offer much satisfaction.

Hearing about CareerWise’s modern youth-apprenticeship program, Axyl signed up because it would offer a new environment, and because he was eager to jumpstart his career.

Pinnacol Assurance hired Axyl as an apprentice serving on one of the company’s client service underwriting teams, where he processes workers’ compensation insurance policy renewals and assists policyholders as they register for web portal access, and the Special Investigations Unit, where he researches traffic accident reports.

In these roles, Axyl is gaining the skills he needs to be an entrepreneur while applying the core-competencies of math and English he learns in school to a meaningful assignment. After his apprenticeship, he wants to obtain a Master of Business Administration and eventually manage his own business. He is “very technology-savvy” and will likely do work involving computers—and is very clear about the fact that his experience now is propelling him toward his future.

“I’m excited to see where I can go,” he said.

Developing Professional Skills

Axyl is receiving valuable training that will make him a highly sought-after employee. In addition to building knowledge about the insurance industry, apprenticeship at Pinnacol has deeply focused on developing skills in leadership, public speaking and communication. Being part of a Toastmasters program has been Axyl’s most memorable experience so far.

“It’s fun to see how much I have grown. I’m learning to be more professional in my body language, put out the right energy when talking to people and be the best that I can in the business environment,” he said.

Apprenticeship has also opened Axyl’s eyes to an area in which he needs improvement: focusing on quality over quantity. Being a naturally “fast worker,” he is learning to slow down. “With legal documents about people’s lives, it’s not an option to make big mistakes. I’m trying to be more careful with what I’m putting out.”

To help him produce better work, he regularly references binders containing in-depth explanations, observes his colleagues and asks plenty of questions. “I ask a million questions a day, and there is always someone to answer—and I always see smiles on their faces,” he said.

The Drive to Work

While Axyl was a straight-A student in school last year, top grades have never been his goal. He doesn’t feel that a 4.0 would benefit him. “It’s not something that’s necessary to build skills, be professional, be intelligent, and have the drive to work.”

In fact, Axyl’s transcripts indicate he is exactly in the middle of his class in terms of grade point average. He says this “speaks volumes about how capable people are. There is nothing special about me. I wanted to do something, I got what I wanted and now I am doing my best.”

The Courage to Take on New Opportunities

When Axyl started his apprenticeship, he was anxious about not fully knowing what was involved and wondered if he could perform in a job normally reserved for college-educated people. But being in the experience boosts his confidence. “Every day teaches you to not have fears,” he said.

Axyl’s biggest surprise has been the chance to do things he never imagined before. “There have been more opportunities for me in the past nine months than I’ve ever had in my life,” he said.

Apprenticeship has given Axyl a new outlook for the future, with exciting career options on his horizon. “Apprenticeship at Pinnacol is preparing me for wherever I want to go.”