Apprenticeships are a hot topic at the minute and if you're considering applying for one, there are a few key points you should know. Here are some of the frequently asked questions we've been receiving since the Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship launched in 2016.
What is an insurance apprenticeship?
The Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship is Ireland’s first apprenticeship to award a level 8 honours degree – the BA (Hons) in Insurance Practice.
The three-year, work-based training programme combines academics with on-the-job learning, allowing you to acquire both technical knowledge and soft skills. As an apprentice, you will work in an insurance organisation, where you will learn the practical aspects of the job while studying towards your degree. All study is done online through ATU Sligo, LIA and The Insurance Institute.
Your employer will support you in your on-the-job learning, with regular one to one personal development sessions with your designated supervisor and mentor.
Will I get paid?
Yes. You will earn a full-time salary whilst you study for your degree. The degree portion of the programme is government-funded and your salary is paid by your employer in line with the industry entry-level rate.
How long is the programme?
The programme is three years, broken down into nine semesters (three per year). It's important to remember this when you apply for your apprenticeship position as both you and your employer are committing to a three-year contract.
What will I learn?
- Key business skills such as communication, workplace collaboration, customer service, negotiation, innovation, creativity and critical thinking
- Technical insurance knowledge, which you will obtain by completing professional insurance programmes, the Accredited Product Adviser (APA) and Certified Insurance Practitioner (CIP) or the Qualified Financial Advisor (QFA)
- Skills in and a broader understanding of emerging areas such as big data, insurtech and cybercrime
Do I need any experience or qualifications to sign up?
Entry requirements include a minimum of 2 honours at higher level in the Leaving Cert or equivalent, and a pass in four additional subjects including Maths and English or Irish. If you are over 23, interviews or other selection tools may be used to assess instead of these minimum requirements. There is no work experience requirement.
You must be at least 18 years of age to enter the programme.
I’m already working in insurance. Can I sign up for the apprenticeship?
Check with your employer to see if they are taking part in the programme. The apprenticeship was developed to attract new entrants to the industry and therefore is not currently open to those with an insurance qualification – however, if you’re a new entrant without an insurance qualification, you may still be eligible to apply.
Your employer must be approved before taking part in the apprenticeship – learn more here →
Are apprenticeships just for school leavers?
Absolutely not. Apprentices can come from a wide range of backgrounds. Anyone who wants to begin a career in the insurance industry, from school leavers to third-level students, graduates and career changers can apply to be an apprentice, provided they meet the minimum entry requirements or pass the interview selection process.
Have a look at what career changer and now Insurance Apprentice Graduate, Paddy Power had to say about the programme when he first started:
What qualification will I earn at the end of it all?
You won’t just earn one qualification – you’ll earn three, one each year.
- Year 1: Accredited Product Adviser (APA) – this is the industry’s entry-level qualification. Insurance professionals need this before they can provide advice to customers unsupervised. Find out more about the APA →
- Year 2: Certified Insurance Practitioner (CIP) (or Qualified Financial Adviser (QFA) if working in the life insurance sector) – the next step on from APA, many employers request their staff have this qualification as a minimum. Find out more about the CIP →
- Year 3: BA (Hons) in Insurance Practice – at the end of your apprenticeship, you’ll graduate with a level 8 honours degree.
How do I apply?
Have a look at our step-by-step guide to applying →
When does the next programme begin?
Employers look to recruit apprentices all year round, so we always advise anyone who is interested to register on our EarnandLearn website. The academic part of the programme starts in September each year, so head over to the website to see who is currently hiring.