My name is Martin Purvis I joined Spence & Partners for a twelve month actuarial placement on the 1st July 2009. I am a 3rd year student studying Actuarial Science and Risk Management at Queens University Belfast. Studying such a specialised course left the very difficult task of finding not only a company that offered the services I wished to gain first hand experience of, but also choosing the right company for me. But I can honestly say that I have found a company that fulfils both requirements here at Spence & Partners. I learned of this relatively small company through my careers advisers and its attractions were instantly clear to see. Spence & Partners specialises in the pension aspect of actuarial work, an area I had not yet specifically studied but was eager to experience. Furthermore the company offered a placement which offered a broad range of work and tasks that would allow me to gain as much experience as possible within one year. Although I have only been working for Spence & Partners for just over three months, I have already noticed its numerous benefits. On arrival I was welcomed into an office of highly skilled individuals that work successfully as a single team. These individuals treated me as an equal and freely shared not only their skills and training, but their experience. Furthermore I have been attending a Pensions Fundamentals Course alongside full time staff members, a clear indication of the commitment the company has given me. In just a few months I have learned a large range of skills that university cannot teach. I have learned the basics of business such as dealing with clients on the phone, writing letters and managing my workflow. Furthermore I have specialised in Pension Scheme Administration, work which has allowed me to gain a vast amount of general pension knowledge. I have been allocated my own pension schemes which require me to deal with both calculations and legal issues. I undertake my own tasks independently as well as participate in team work with more experienced members of staff that provide the one to one training and attention that is proving to be priceless. Spence & Partners has constantly provided me with a challenging and highly beneficial array of tasks while constantly advising me on how best to meet my deadlines. I know that my placement year spent with Spence & Partners will prove to be the most crucial of my four year degree programme. I am now certain that working as an actuary within the pensions industry is the right career route for me. At Spence & Partners I am constantly learning and improving the skills I will need in an environment that is the correct balance of friendly and professional. I look forward to my future months at this company and the new tasks I will undertake. In conclusion I would sincerely recommend Spence & Partners to any prospective placement student or graduate as a company that will provide a challenging experience with great rewards.