“Providing high-quality continuing education - an exciting challenge” - Interview with Henning Wergen, Managing Director of the EAA
Mr Wergen, you are the Managing Director of the European Actuarial Academy, which aims to develop and promote actuarial expertise in Europe. How do you put together your training programme, i.e., how do you determine the training needs of actuaries in Europe?
The areas in which actuaries are active with their specific expertise have continued to grow in recent years. Accordingly, it is naturally an exciting challenge for us to continuously provide interesting and high-quality continuing education programmes on relevant topics. Our experienced team of international experts is always the starting point for offering interesting continuing education. And, of course, the question of what needs are reported back to us by actuaries is also key.
In addition, there are also the topics of the national and international technical committees and, very importantly, the demand for specific programmes from the various national actuarial associations throughout Europe with whom we cooperate as partners.
In these times of data science, increasing digitalisation and social upheaval, many professions are undergoing fundamental change - including the actuarial profession. What developments do you recognise and how has your continuing education programme adapted in this regard?
Not surprisingly, the number of training courses in Actuarial Data Science has increased significantly in recent years. In addition to comprehensive basic training courses, we try to shed light on specific topics that are relevant to actuarial practice and point out solutions, especially in smaller sessions. Furthermore, we also cover topics from personal professional development, such as communication skills, or the "correct" behaviour in challenging professional actuarial situations. In our view, the pandemic-related surge in virtual cooperation has significantly increased the accessibility of continuing education courses for actuaries and certainly generates new topics, e.g., whether good communication works differently online than in a face-to-face meeting.
You are the Chairman of the Education Committee of the Actuarial Association of Europe (AAE) and, since 2022, have also been the Chairman of the Education Committee of the International Actuarial Association (IAA). What are the goals of these committees and what topics are they currently working on?
The AAE adopted an updated Core Syllabus in 2019, which is the basis for the mutual recognition of national actuarial education across Europe. All member associations are required to implement the requirements by the end of 2022. Within the AAE Education Committee, the review process of the various national training courses is currently underway.
At the IAA, too, basic education is currently at the centre of discussions. Unlike at the European level, there is no mutual recognition. Nevertheless, there is a minimum standard that a member association must fulfil in terms of training. Of course, it must be taken into account that there are very different qualification pathways worldwide and that the main topics are set differently. This has to be brought under one organisational umbrella with the necessary flexibility but also stability in terms of time.
In times of working from home and remote working, traditional continuing education in the form of seminars is often replaced by digital continuing education courses. Which digital courses and platforms would you recommend to actuaries for their further education?
Yes, a lot has developed in the area of virtual continuing education in the past two and a half years. As already mentioned, we can offer international courses online very directly. In addition, it is also our goal to regularly offer special formats alongside our regular continuing education programmes. In this context, CONVENTION A should certainly be mentioned, for which we have been able to attract a total of 35 international partners from the actuarial community in the week from 19 to 23 September 2022 together with our co-organiser and partner www.actuview.com. Each partner will provide at least one four-hour programme module for this first purely virtual congress event. The global programme will be complemented by daily plenary sessions on current social issues and their influence on the work of actuaries.
The EAA is one of the many regular content partners of www.actuview.com in order to make further education for actuaries accessible centrally and worldwide, especially for those who cannot regularly attend conferences or seminars on site.