Ireland’s first ever Insurance Apprentices have started a ground-breaking Level 8 degree programme of study.
The new Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship is a statutory apprenticeship, which has been developed jointly by the Industry’s education body, The Insurance Institute and Institute of Technology, Sligo.
It was formally launched by the Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton T.D. at IT Sligo on Friday, and came a day after his announcement of a new Government Action Plan for Education, which aims make Ireland’s education and training system the best in Europe by 2026.
The new entrants, comprising school leavers, graduates and career changers, started the three-year programme of study, which is being delivered online.
The new apprentices are entering one of Ireland’s largest and most diverse financial services sectors which currently employs more than 28,000 people nationwide.
The apprenticeship, designed in conjunction with the insurance industry, equips students with the technical skills and business acumen identified as essential for today’s market.
Leading to a Level 8 honours degree award, the Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship is the first of its kind in the country.
Launching the apprenticeship today, Minister Bruton said “As our economy comes out of a very difficult period, there are many new opportunities in the further education and training sector, including traineeships and apprenticeships, as well as in the third level sector.
“My Department’s Action Plan for Education contains ambitious actions to be developed and implemented including a total of 100 apprenticeship schemes and 50 traineeship schemes delivering 50,000 registrations between now and 2020. This level 8 apprenticeship programme ticks many of the boxes when it comes to responsiveness to emerging skills needs coupled with flexible and online learning”.
Apprentices will study online from their place of work one day a week. A core element of the apprenticeship will be the practical on-the-job work experience, which will enable them to test their knowledge, and enhance their skillset.
Welcoming the launch of the new apprenticeship programme, Dermot Murray, CEO of The Insurance Institute said: “This is a game-changer for the way we recruit, develop and retain talent in the insurance sector. The programme is creating a national standard for education and competencies in the industry and it goes a long way towards solving the problems companies are facing due to skills shortages.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the initiative expand in 2017 and beyond, and we will continue to work closely with IT Sligo and the insurance industry to ensure its relevance in this ever-changing market.”
Colin McLean, Interim President of IT Sligo said: “This is a perfect illustration of 21st century collaboration between industry and educators. The combination of modern technology through online learning with the expertise of industry practitioners will provide these apprentices with the relevant skills to thrive as an Insurance professional.”
The new Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship has the support of The Apprenticeship Council, SOLAS: The Further Education and Training Authority; and the Higher Education Authority.
The Minister for Education & Skills, Richard Bruton T.D. chats with some of the new apprentices at last Friday’s launch of the new Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship, which is being delivered online by IT Sligo and The Insurance Institute.