Actuaries apply knowledge from a broad range of disciplines, including mathematics, to the challenges of solving business problems. The package of skills required for success include technical skills, professional and communication skills, and a range of skills that support innovation and problem solving.
We will give some context by summarising what actuaries do, areas they work in, and how to become an actuary. We will explore the similarities between transferable actuarial skills and the underlying skills needed in STEM applications and roles. Some specific skills that actuaries bring to the table include constructive skepticism, the capacity to make judgements in the face of incomplete information, an understanding of fairness and equity, and an understanding of materiality.
Actuaries solve problems, typically in financial contexts such as insurance, superannuation, and risk management. These problems often require projecting into the future and so inherently address uncertainty as the future is not guaranteed. As with other STEM subject areas, actuaries ‘learn by doing’ and so continually develop their skills and insights.
Having introduced the profession, we will collaboratively look at examples of an actuarial approach to some topics included in the senior high school mathematics and science curriculums. We will look at:
– The ‘tyranny of the average’ and unpacking this using an actuarial approach, and
– Risk management and approaches to risk management.
In summary, we will ‘lift the lid’ on the actuarial skill set in a STEM context, leaving participants with some ideas they can take back to their work.