BORN from an ambition to create a continuous pipeline of talent, and to encourage the next generation into the industry, The Insurance Apprenticeship will this year celebrate seven years in existence.
During this time, the programme has shifted the perception of a career in insurance and attracted bright, ambitious, and hardworking individuals into the sector.
Many of the apprentices who have been successful on the programme were recommended by friends or family working in the insurance sector, or had only just started, and were not yet APA qualified – with this in mind, The Insurance Institute is encouraging Brokers to consider potential applicants or people in their lives who might be suited to the programme.
You might know someone who is looking for a new challenge and the apprenticeship could be the perfect opportunity for them to build a sustainable career in an exciting industry, full of prospects.
The Insurance Apprenticeship was Ireland’s first degree-level apprenticeship, and it sees apprentices work full-time for an insurance employer, with one day per week devoted to their online lectures, which are run in partnership with ATU Sligo (Atlantic Technological University).
One of the most attractive elements of the programme is the fact the apprentices gain real, on the job learning, as well as a level-8 qualification (BA Hons in Insurance Practice).
Recruitment for the 2022 Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship is well underway, and those interested employers are encouraged to sign up soon to ensure that they have enough time to be approved by SOLAS and recruit the best candidate before the early September start date.
One such success story is Michelle O’Neill who graduated from the programme in 2020 and is now working in AIG. She had great success on the programme and in her career to date – having applied for the apprenticeship when she was looking for a career change, and it was recommended to her by her family.
Michelle O’Neill says, “Both my parents worked in insurance, so I grew up exposed to the sector from an early age. That being said, I initially rebelled slightly and chose to work in the hospitality industry instead.”
Michelle continued, “I absolutely loved the hospitality industry, but I have two children, and the reality was that trying to balance family life with work was too challenging.
I had come to a point where I absolutely needed a career change, but with a mortgage and children I worried that it would never be possible. I heard about the apprenticeship through my family.
The programme enabled me to return to education, join an industry with incredible prospects, all while continuing to earn a salary.” Michelle believes joining the apprenticeship was the best decision she could have made for herself and her career.
Michelle also says that it does take commitment and you need to be extremely dedicated. “You absolutely need to be a self-starter. You are expected to work independently to ensure your college commitments are met, whilst simultaneously working full-time. There are times when this can be challenging but with a little forward planning it most certainly can be done.
Likewise, you need to consider the practical element of the programme – when you start out your employer understands you are very ‘green’ in the industry but remember to ask questions, stay humble, apply the theory, and remain professional at all times.”
Michelle’s success is a reminder that at times the right candidate for the apprenticeship could be right in front of us. The Insurance Institute is encouraging Brokers to think of people in their lives who might be suited and to consider encouraging them to apply. An appealing aspect of the programme is the fact that no experience is necessary, but with the right attitude, worth ethic, and sense of ambition anyone can carve out a successful career for themselves.
For more information on the 2022 Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship logon to earnandlearn.ie