By Steven Galvin - Last update

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CIRDAS is a third-level academy for upskilling and reskilling insurance and financial services industry professionals. The Centre for Insurance, Risk and Data Analytics Studies (CIRDAS) was created by IT Carlow’s Faculty of Lifelong Learning and Insurtech Network Centre (INC), an IT Carlow/Enterprise Ireland initiative, in partnership with Letterkenny Institute of Technology.

The €1.73million initiative is funded by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) under the Human Capital Initiative Pillar 3, Innovation and Agility initiative.

CIRDAS will offer three pillars of learning: data science, business thinking and design thinking. Bespoke course content will aim to upskill and reskill insurance and financial services professionals in ever-changing areas such as: data science (analytics and algorithms); problem solving with design thinking; underwriting for the future; strategy mapping; transformative technologies; environmental, social and governance (ESG).

The CIRDAS initiative has already been endorsed by other large concerns such as Axa, Zurich, Verisk, Sun life and Unum that have favour the bespoke course content, flexible learning, transferable qualifications and access to academic and industry knowledge networks CIRDAS offers.

A recent PwC Ireland-Insurance Ireland Leaders Survey for 2020 that researched the views and priorities of 79 Irish insurance leaders highlighted that 70% of respondents were experiencing skills shortfalls with 24% admitting they were struggling to address these skills gaps. The survey found that just 45% had clearly defined upskilling strategies in place and of these just under half or 48% struggled to appropriately resource these plans to create the workplace of the future.

Damian Rossiter, a Wexford native with 15 years’ experience in banking, finance, data analysis and risk, has been appointed development manager for CIRDAS and says there is a need for relevant and up-to-date upskilling options within the insurance sector that has suffered a lack of confidence in bridging skills gaps.

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

“Collectively, the insurance and financial services sectors employ approximately 99,000 people nationwide. The HEA has been quick to recognise and address these gaps by funding bespoke and agile educational solutions for these sectors through CIRDAS in conjunction with the Faculty of Lifelong Learning at IT Carlow”, said Mr. Rossiter.

“Educational solutions will be transversal and offer encompassing learner-centred design offerings from masterclasses and single module certificates, up to full major Level 8 & 9 awards recognised under the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS). 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 with creative timetabling built around the needs of the learner cohort”, added Mr. Rossiter

For further information on CIRDAS please visit

Steven Galvin

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