13 September, 2019 – Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor launches 4th year Insurance Practice Apprenticeship

Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor was in the Institute of Technology Sligo today to officially launch the fourth year of the Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship Programme. This honours degree programme is aimed at preparing insurance professionals for the world of work, delivered by IT Sligo in partnership with the Insurance Institute and the Life Insurance Association. This year will see the first set of apprentices graduate from the programme.

The Minister expressed her delight at being able to also welcome the newly-enrolled 72 first-year apprentices into the Insurance Apprenticeship Programme. She opened her address quoting W.B. Yeats: “As you come together as a class for the first time, I would like to say to you all, ‘There are no strangers here, only friends you haven’t yet met.’ As you go through this programme I expect you will make long lasting friends who will become your work and social colleagues for many years to come. I am honoured to be here today to witness the beginning of your new careers and in some small way be a part of your new journey through higher education.”

The Minister also congratulated the Insurance Institute and Sligo IT on such an innovative programme, stating, “Your profession saw the value in the apprenticeship model and in light of that I would like to thank each employer involved, Sligo IT and the Insurance Institute along with the Life Insurance Association for their tireless work in providing this pioneering programme. Apprenticeships give our school leavers another path to a rewarding career, they allow them to earn and learn, gaining employment in one of Ireland’s largest and most diverse sectors while achieving an honours degree.” 

Notes to Editors

The BA (Hons) in Insurance Practice, launched in 2016, is the first Level 8 apprenticeship programme in Ireland. The Insurance Institute and IT Sligo are proud to have developed and launched this degree programme with the support of an Industry Consortium and Steering Group. With the Life Insurance Association joining in 2017, this degree qualification allows new entrants to the financial services sector to earn while they learn from their place of business with award winning delivery of online content. This apprenticeship supports the government’s IFS 2025 ensuring that Ireland continues to be a centre of excellence, providing skilled people to meet the demands of a growing IFS sector.

The insurance industry in Ireland employs more than 28,000 people, and generates more than €47 billion in premium income, both domestically and overseas (Insurance Ireland, 2019). The industry operates in two distinct sectors, life insurance and non-life insurance. In terms of employment, the insurance sector attracts approximately 1,500 new entrants each year (Insurance Institute of Ireland, 2018)

Ireland is now an established global hub for the international insurance industry. This is due to a combination of factors including our young, talented, well educated, and highly flexible and adaptable workforce; membership of the EU; status as the only English-speaking member of the Eurozone; being internationally competitive and EU and OECD compliant. Ireland is seen as strongly pro-business with a stable legal framework and high quality state supports for new investments and innovation. In addition, 50% of the world’s leading financial services companies having a presence here makes Ireland a top-tier location of choice for specialist financial services and supports the Government’s Ireland For Finance Strategy to 2025.

Further information is available at:

The Insurance Institute https://www.earnandlearn.ie/

Institute of Technology Sligo www.itsligo.ie

Generation Apprenticeship www.apprenticeship.ie