COVID Proof Apprenticeship
COVID-19 has disrupted everyone’s lives including those who are furthering their education. But it is fair to say that the apprentices on the BA (Hons) Insurance Practice programme have been spared much of this disruption. They have just completed their summer semester, are preparing for their end of semester online exams, and are due to commence the next stage of the programme at the end of September.
The Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship is delivered online therefore lectures and assessments were not affected by the recent shutdown. The majority of apprentices are working remotely and have adjusted very well to the change in their working conditions.
The Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship is a three-year programme that offers apprentices the chance to study remotely from anywhere in Ireland while in full-time, paid employment in the insurance industry. Apprentices work their way towards a Level 8 BA (Hons) in Insurance Practice as they gain invaluable, real-world experience. It is delivered by IT Sligo in partnership with The Insurance Institute and LIA. IT Sligo is an award-winning institution for the delivery of online education and has been ranked in the top five best performing universities in Ireland in 2020 (in an independent report by U-Multirank, out-scoring many larger universities).
The Government funded programme was launched in 2016 and has already enrolled over 300 apprentices across Ireland. The first cohort of apprentices graduated from the programme last year. Michael Barrett, Head of School of Business & Social Science in IT Sligo believes that the programme is growing from strength to strength; “IT Sligo is delighted to partner with The Insurance Institute and LIA on this exciting and innovative programme supported by SOLAS, Higher Education Authority and the Apprenticeship Council. Our 33 graduates last year are already making a significant contribution to the industry with another 58 due to graduate this October. We also welcome the recently announced additional supports provided to employers at this time.”
Feedback from both employers and apprentices on the programme is resoundingly positive. The apprentices bring new talent and willingness to learn to their organisations whilst they enjoy working, learning and earning and find the programme both challenging and rewarding.
There are still a number of places available on the programme and there has never been a better time to hire an apprentice. Catherine Kennedy, Apprenticeship Manager in IT Sligo would strongly urge employers to consider taking on an apprentice this September; “feedback from employers is so positive, the apprentices bring new energy, talent and enthusiasm to the organisations and offices they are working in. Many of our employers recruit every year as they see first-hand the benefits of hiring apprentices”.
This year there is a further incentive for employers to recruit an apprentice. In July the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD and the Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys TD announced a range of activation measures aimed at helping people get back to work or education quickly as part of the Governments Stimulus Package. This included the Apprenticeship Recruitment Incentive, which will provide a financial incentive for companies who recruit apprentices of up to €3,000.
Further information for employers and anyone considering becoming an apprentice is available at www.earnandlearn.ie