Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Damien Mason from CRH plc to give some advice for people considering this job:

Damien Mason

Mechanical Engineer

CRH plc

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Damien Mason

If you are really interested in people and have good interpersonal skills, you will find this job very rewarding.

Like a lot of jobs, you will not be using all the theoretical knowledge you gained in University or College, but you will develop significant management potential and the environment is stimulating and rewarding.

As an engineer, you will probably spend about 50% of your time in the office, and the other 50% out in the plant.

You should also expect that you may be asked if you are willing to travel abroad. This would be very attractive to most people, and a definite means to gain great experience, but it may not suit everyone.

You should ideally be a balanced person, someone with a good deal of technical knowledge, but also a good ability to deal with people.

Responsibility and challenges will be given to you from day one, and if you can handle the pressure, you will gain more and more responsibilities, ultimately leading you to gain invaluable experience, and undoubtedly onto a successful management position.

With the global nature of ICL's parent company CRH, this could be yours in Ireland or one of many countries worldwide.


Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship Kicks Off Year 2 with 85 New Apprentices

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Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship Kicks Off Year 2 with 85 New Apprentices

Thursday, September 21, 2017 

Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship Kicks Off Year 2 with 85 New Apprentices

The Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship, Ireland’s first level-8-degree apprenticeship, kicked off its second-year last week, with 85 new apprentices from all across the country, beginning the three year ‘earn and learn’ programme.

First launched in 2016, The Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship is helping to reshape the landscape of apprenticeships in Ireland as it enables apprentices to work for an insurance employer, while also studying for a BA Hons in Insurance Practice.

The programme is run in partnership with IT Sligo, and while only in its second-year has garnered much attention and places are in high demand. The Insurance Institute received over 1,500 registrations of interest in the 2017 programme, with candidates evenly spilt across graduates, career changers, and school leavers.

The Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship is completely unique, as apprentices gain real life on the job experience, while also working towards a third-level qualification.

For more information on the programme visit

Commenting on the beginning of the second year of the programme, Sandra Harvey Graham, Apprenticeship Programme Manager, The Insurance Institute, said:

“We are thrilled with the success of the apprenticeship programme to date, while only in its infancy it has grown by 20% since its first year and impressively holds the record for the largest intake at any one time of apprentices, to any course or programme in the country. We want to see this success continue, and remain at the forefront of what modern apprenticeships look like in Ireland.”

“At The Insurance Institute, we are passionate about lifelong learning, and we developed The Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship not only to respond to the needs of the insurance industry but because we wanted to create something sustainable which would modernise insurance as a career.”

“The programme has been a game changer, not only has it taken great steps towards future proofing talent acquisition within the insurance industry but it also offers young people a real and affordable alternative to third level education. Combine all of this with the industry’s ability to provide local jobs, to local people throughout the country, I feel that we have been able to revitalise insurance as a career option.”

Dr. Michael Barrett, Head of School of Business & Social Sciences, IT Sligo commented:

“IT Sligo is proud to be the academic partner in the development of this programme along with The Insurance Institute. Enabling students to realise their full potential is a core mission of ours here in Sligo, and we look forward to watching the careers of this new intake of apprentices flourish over the coming years.”

The Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship was first launched in September 2016, and was Ireland's first, earn and learn honours degree programme. The Government funded apprenticeship (students pay only €600 in registration fees annually) is run in partnership with IT Sligo and for the first time this year, the Life Insurance Association (LIA). 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, interviews or other selection tools may be used.

About the Insurance Institute

The Insurance Institute is the leading provider of professional education and continuing professional development for the insurance sector in Ireland. Our core purpose is to expand and enhance the industry’s knowledge base, in-tune with both member and industry needs. With over 17,500 members nationwide, we ensure that members have access to support services, insurance communities and peer-to-peer networking opportunities, regardless of geography.