APR Celebrates its 10th Birthday
On Friday 27 October APR's staff and partners came together in Brighton to mark the tenth anniversary of the business.
Although APR started trading in 2006, 2007 saw our first contractor placement and our first actuarial employees - marking the two key pillars of our business.
Ten years on, the weekend consisted of a mixture of training, team-building activities, fun and relaxation.
Friday afternoon saw a series of training sessions, either side of which APR's partners looked back at some of the highlights of the last ten years, and ahead at what the future might hold for the business. The time in between covered:
- A practical session on coding and modelling efficiency, delivered by APR partner Gary Heslop and supported by associate Troy Cruickshank; this introduced methods for measuring efficiency of algorithms, including a number of ideas aimed at improving still further the way we approach coding problems - an area in which APR is traditionally strong.
- A fast-paced look at how we can "Think outside the box", delivered by Susie Ashfield of Maximum Performance. Susie encouraged us all to develop creative solutions by looking at problems in different ways, ultimately helping us to stand out from the crowd.
- Pawel Wozniak of 3Blocks gave us a hugely informative overview of IFRS17, covering the background to the new requirements to be implemented in 2021, explaining the methodology, outlining the differences from Solvency II and running through some examples of the impact of different scenarios on the liabilities, balance sheet and P&L. Further details can be found at www.3blocks.co.
In a packed day on Saturday we were treated to two team-building events to exercise mind and body:
- In the Enigma Challenge teams were set the task of completing 120 separate exercises under heavy time pressure - the exercises consisted of mind-puzzles, physical challenges and artistic / creative assignments.
- After lunch we departed on the Sherlock Adventure, a three-hour treasure hunt taking in the sights of Brighton. Each team had to complete a series of tasks: locating evidence, finding local landmarks and photographing / videoing the team in a range of settings.
And to relax?
Aside from the professional training aspects, one of the key objectives of the weekend was to give us all the opportunity to spend time together as a group, something APR's business model, with staff spending the majority of time on client projects, seldom allows us to do.
A trip up Brighton's iconic i360 tower was followed by a laid-back dinner on Friday evening, after which many of us visited a couple of Brighton's livelier night-spots.
What down-time we could find was spent conquering the hotel spa - an army of actuaries wearing hurriedly purchased matching swimwear must have been a sight to behold.
On Saturday night we were treated to a formal dinner at the Grand Hotel, over the course of which we all got to play Sherlock in a murder mystery. With each table working as a team, three of the four teams came up with highly plausible scenarios; in fact of these, two teams won bragging rights by correctly identifying the murderer. The fourth team was, alas, abysmally wide of the mark and as punishment was made to re-enact their delusional fantasy, to much hilarity.
Prizes awarded for performance in the activities went to Adam and Gajan, and awards were also presented to highlight standout achievements by APR staff over the years (some work-related, some notable in other ways!); all of which was debated long into the night, demonstrating that the competitive spirit hasn't died just yet.
What we all thought
A great time was had by all - a few parting thoughts from our staff:
"A weekend full of fun, adventure, thinking outside the box, surprises and good old slapstick!" - Marc
"It was great to catch up with so many of my colleagues over the weekend and celebrate the company's success over the last 10 years, as well as looking forward to the future with some informative training sessions on the Friday afternoon. My personal highlight was the Sherlock Holmes challenge which was great fun and got us out and about exploring Brighton in the (unexpected) late October sunshine!" - Ross
"I had a thoroughly enjoyable weekend on the English Riviera celebrating APRs 10th birthday. I was tested to my limits, both physically and mentally, by the various puzzles and activities throughout the weekend, particularly given my struggles in shaking off the consequences of Friday night's exertions." - Mark
"The weekend was great fun and an excellent opportunity to catch up with colleagues who have been away on projects. I particularly enjoyed the Sherlock Holmes themed treasure hunt which seemed to bring out the strong competitive nature in APR's staff! Roll on the 20th anniversary!" - Sammy
And lastly, some highlights for the APR partners:
- The murder mystery re-enactment, especially the transcendent cameos by Conor and Dennis.
- The group dynamics on the power ballads dancefloor at Komedia.
- The unveiling of the new game of APR Top Trumps - we're looking forward to seeing that one in the shops in time for Christmas.
- Finally, and most importantly, feeling immensely proud looking around the room at our amazing team of talented staff: what a journey the last ten years has been from those humble beginnings.