Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D. officially launched the fourth year of the Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship Programme at IT Sligo today. This honours degree programmes aimed at preparing insurance professionals for the world of work, delivered by IT Sligo in partnership with the Insurance Institute and LIA, was launched in 2016 and has already enrolled over 300 apprentices across Ireland. Today, an additional 72 apprentices are being enrolled and the first cohort of students will graduate with an honours degree programme in November. This programme has been deemed a huge success by the Insurance Industry.
Speaking at the IT Sligo Student Induction Day, Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor welcomed the new recruits to the programme:
“I’m delighted to be here to welcome the 2019 students of the Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship Programme at IT Sligo this morning. This programme has been an overwhelming success for the Insurance Industry and proves the apprentice model can be tailored to any industry with the backing of external partners. I want to congratulate the Insurance Institute and all the Insurance companies who have taken part in the programme over the past three years. IT Sligo is at the forefront of distance learning in Ireland and with their expertise they have proven a degree level education is achievable as you “Earn & Learn”. In November we will see the first graduates of this programme which is a testament to its success. I would also encourage more women to take the apprentice group and I’m delighted to see so many women on this programme”
The Bachelor of Arts in Insurance Practice was the first professionally validated level 8 programme in Higher Education using the ‘model, and has been designed and developed in close collaboration with the Insurance Industry.
The apprenticeship allows school leavers, graduates and career changers to gain employment to one of Ireland’s largest and most diverse sectors while achieving an honours degree.
This programme is delivered online by IT Sligo over three years to students who will be employed with many of the leading insurance companies and brokers in Ireland. The online learning is all done from the apprentice’s workplace, making the programme suitable nationwide for those active in the workforce. As an ‘earn and learn’ apprenticeship, the programme will teach knowledge, skills and competencies through a formal education process, while developing vital workplace skills on the job.
Welcoming the new programme, Dr Brendan McCormack, President of IT Sligo said: “We are delighted to see our fourth intake of students entering this innovative approach to learning while they earn. This programme has been a great success for the industry and has proven the apprenticeship model can work in nearly any industry. The Minister has been a great supporter of apprenticeships and we are delighted she has visited us today to meet with our new students on induction day at IT Sligo. I would also like to thank the Minister and her Department for securing over €20 million in capital funding for IT Sligo in the last few months as we look to extend and improve the campus towards becoming a Technological University”.
Dermot Murray, CEO, The Insurance Institute also welcomed the Minister adding it was especially poignant this year as the initial set of apprentices are due to graduate from the programme;
“We are delighted to welcome the new apprentices to the 2019 Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship. It’s wonderful to be here today to witness first-hand their enthusiasm and eagerness to begin their new careers in insurance. Since its launch in 2016, the earn and learn programme has gone from strength to strength, with many across both insurance and education viewing it as a game changer as it provides apprentices with the unique opportunity to gain a third-level qualification, while working full time and gaining real experience.”
“The beginning of the 2019 apprenticeship is especially poignant as this year will also see our first set of apprentices graduate from the programme. This group of ambitious and hardworking individuals have applied themselves wholeheartedly over the past three years and it’s great to see their hard work having paid off as they kick start their careers. Our new apprentices here today have much to look forward to, and as they embark on this new chapter, we at the Institute would like to wish them the very best of luck and we look forward to hearing more from as they progress their careers over the coming years.”
The Bachelor of Arts in Insurance Practice is a three year course and is open to all applicants through the Insurance Industry. Further information about this programme is available at www.earnandlearn.ie