Two men stand outside IT Carlow, holding a sign that says 'CIRDAS'.
Damian Rossiter, development manager at CIRDAS, and Dr Joseph Collins, head of lifelong learning at IT Carlow. Image: IT Carlow

IT Carlow launches hub for upskilling in insurance, risk and data analytics

27 Sep 2021

The centre will provide much-needed upskilling in risk and data analytics for people in the insurance and financial services industries.

IT Carlow is introducing a centre to help insurance and finance professionals upskill and reskill in data science, business thinking and design thinking.

The Centre for Insurance, Risk and Data Analytics Studies (CIRDAS) will offer courses to insurance and financial services professionals in ever-changing areas such as data science, problem solving with design thinking, underwriting for the future, strategy mapping, transformative technologies and environmental, social and governance (ESG).

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The €1.73m centre was created by IT Carlow’s faculty of lifelong learning and Insurtech Network Centre, which is an IT Carlow and Enterprise Ireland initiative, in partnership with Letterkenny Institute of Technology.

CIRDAS is funded by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and has been endorsed by several industry players including Axa, Zurich, Verisk, Sun Life and Unum.

Skills shortage

According to a PwC Ireland survey last year of 79 insurance industry leaders, the sector is experiencing a skills shortage at the moment – 70pc of respondents said they were experiencing skills shortfalls and 24pc claimed they were struggling to address these skills gaps.

PwC’s Insurance Ireland Leaders Survey for 2020 found that just under half (45pc) had clearly defined upskilling strategies in place and, of these, 48pc struggled to appropriately resource these plans.

CIRDAS development manager Damian Rossiter said there is a need for relevant and up-to-date upskilling options within the insurance sector.

“Evidence suggests the insurance sector recognises the clear need, but also the challenges, of creating an agile and innovative workplace of the future.”

The Wexford-man has 15 years’ experience in banking, finance, data analysis and risk. He believes the sector, which employs around 99,000 people nationwide, is suffering from a crisis in confidence as it attempts to future-proof itself.

“It is apparent that a lack of confidence and resources in addressing these skills gaps are key impediments to realising the benefits of opportunities increasing digitisation presents in the areas of data science, business thinking and design thinking,” Rossiter added.

CIRDAS will offer learners a number of options, including masterclasses and workshops, as well as Level 8 and 9 degrees.

“Programmes will give learners the flexibility to undertake a 10-credit module, which grants the option to exit at that point with a qualification recognised at a European level, or to continue through to degree or postgraduate diploma,” Rossiter concluded.

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Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea joined Silicon Republic in 2021 as Careers reporter, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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