The 2020 Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship Announces 100 Places on ‘Earn and Learn’ Programme.

55% of Young Adults Would Consider an Apprenticeship if Available in an Area of Interest to them – with 58% Citing that they Would Prefer ‘On the Job Training’ Instead of Traditional College Route.

Research released today by The Insurance Institute, found that 55% of young adults would consider undertaking an apprenticeship if it were available in an area of interest to them, with 58% of this cohort citing that if given the option, they would choose ‘on the job’ training instead of the traditional college route. The research was released today by The Insurance Institute to mark the launch of the 2020 Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship, and to announce that the programme, which begins in September, will have up to 100 places available nationwide. The ‘earn and learn’ programme was Ireland’s first degree-level apprenticeship and enables apprentices to work full time for an insurance employer, earn a salary, whilst studying for a BA Hons in Insurance Practice.

The research also revealed that only 5% of young adults believe there are enough apprenticeship options available in areas of interest to them (this is a significant drop compared with 18% in 2019), with the overwhelming majority (90%) stating that they think you can have a successful career without going to college. 45% of parents said they would encourage their child to undertake an apprenticeship if it were available in an area of interest to them, with only a small minority (8%) believing there are already enough apprenticeship options to choose from.

Commissioned by The Insurance Institute and undertaken by Empathy Research, the comprehensive research surveyed 342 young adults (between the ages of 16 – 34), and 435 parents of dependent children (under the age of 18), and gauged their perceptions of apprenticeships, as well as their attitudes towards third level education, the Leaving Cert and also factors influencing their career decisions. This is the fourth year The Insurance Institute has undertaken the research, and a number of shifts and patterns in attitudes have been found (please find detail contained in notes to editor).

The overwhelming opinion amongst young adults (85%) is that college and third level education is not for everyone, with 82% saying that a more structured approach to education, such as one that allows them to earn and learn would be appealing. 52% of this cohort also stated that they would like to see more options available to students when it comes to getting a third level education, with 53% of parents in agreement.

When asked about their main concerns with regards going to college, 50% of  young adults said they worry about their job prospects once studying is complete, with 47% stating that the cost and affordability is a major consideration. Similarly, parents said that the cost and affordability (64%) was their main concern, with job prospects also a worry (58%) with regards their children’s third level education.

When considering an industry to work in, the most important factors amongst young adults is the availability of jobs in the industry (73%), followed by the security it offers (71%), with 62% saying that the opportunity to earn money as you learn/train would be an appealing factor.

Just over half (54%) of  young adults’ claim that having a good work/life balance plays a significant role when deciding on a career, with 65% of parents claiming that it would influence the advice they give their child with regards choosing a career.

Commenting on the research findings and the launch of The Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship, Dermot Murray, CEO, The Insurance Institute said, “We are delighted to launch the 2020 Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship, and to announce that there will be 100 places available on this years’ programme. The apprenticeship is more than just a job, it is the chance of a career in a dynamic and thriving industry with boundless opportunities. Successful apprentices gain real work experience, while earning a living and working towards a third level qualification. The programme, which is now entering its fifth year, is also hugely beneficial for the insurance employer, as they have access to quality employees who are highly ambitious and hardworking. It’s a win-win for everyone involved and has been extremely successful in breathing new life into our industry by seeking out and recruiting the next generation of talent.”

Mr Murray continued, “The results of the research show that there is a strong desire for more options when it comes to third level education – with 52% of young people and 53% of parents citing this. The results also indicate that young adults have an appetite for the option of entering the workforce via a non-traditional route, with 58% stating that they would prefer on the job training instead of college. In terms of their concerns with regards third level, once again affordability, as well as job prospects scored highly. With these considerations in mind, you can see why apprenticeships such as ours are becoming increasingly more attractive – within our programme apprentices can achieve a third level qualification, while earning a salary, not only that but the fees are Government funded and so are minimal (600 Euro). Many apprentices will also have the option to work where they live, and so they won’t have the added expense of moving away from home.”

“If you are a prospective apprentice or employer we would love to hear from you, or you can avail of clear, easy to access information on the programme by visiting”

The research also surveyed respondent’s opinions on the Leaving Cert, and ‘not achieving the points needed for the desired course’ was stated as the biggest concern for young adults (55%), with parents less likely to cite this as a concern (42%). Just over 4 in 10 (41%) of young adults claim the potential of failing an exam and having to repeat was a concern, with 29% of parents claiming their child not getting a college place was a worry of theirs.

6 in 10 (60%) of young adults think the stress associated with the Leaving Certificate could be reduced in the future by moving to a more continuous type of assessment, with 68% of parents also believing this to be the case.    

The Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship was first launched in September 2016 and was Ireland’s first-degree level apprenticeship programme. The Government funded apprenticeship is run in partnership with IT Sligo, and apprentices complete the degree portion online through distance learning over three years. The minimum entry requirements include two honours in higher level subjects in the Leaving Cert and a pass in four additional subjects including English/Irish and Maths. Alternatively, if applicants are over 23, other selection tools may be used. All successful applicants must interview with employers as part of the selection process.

For more information on the programme or to register your interest please visit


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