Insurance Ireland Intern -Colm Layton
Degree subject: Politics & International Relations (University College Dublin, 2017)
Job title: Intern
Employer: Insurance Ireland
Tell us about yourself
I recently finished studying for my degree in Politics and International Relations at UCD, so getting into an internship programme as soon as I finished was important in ensuring I gained the professional experience to kick-start my career. While at studying at university I was member of the athletics club and Public Relations Officer for the Media Society. I love the outdoors, so I get out as much as I can – either hiking, running, swimming or cycling. In 2013, I climbed and summited Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, so I have plans to do something similar again soon. I am currently serving as a reservist with the Reserve Defence Forces, which has kept me busy for the past two years with exercises, shooting competitions and ceremonial events. In 2016, I represented UCD at the National Model of United Nations in New York. This was a great experience and significantly improved my public speaking and negotiation skills.
How does your degree contribute to your position as an intern with Insurance Ireland?
My degree certainly has contributed to my position as an intern with Insurance Ireland. As Insurance Ireland is the representative body for Insurance companies, it promotes the interests of its members to the Government, state agencies, regulatory bodies, public representatives, other national interest groups, the media and the general public. Through my degree, I gained a good understanding of the European Union and the Government, so it is relevant to the operations of Insurance Ireland. As Insurance Ireland represents the position of its members at a European level, particularly via Insurance Europe and at a global level via the Global Federation of Insurance Associations (GFIA) my degree has given me the basis of understanding such structures.
What is exciting about your internship?
There are many areas that I find exciting about working with Insurance Ireland. Firstly, Insurance Ireland engages on public policy on behalf of its members, so being able to contribute to this work and see how it develops is always rewarding. We also work alongside firms like PwC and KPMG on different projects, so getting involved with them has been exciting. I love how the team at Insurance Ireland ensure that I am involved in ongoing projects and give me the opportunity to contribute to them. Secondly, meeting new people from different companies and organisations every week has been really exciting, especially when I get the chance to sit in at meetings. Recently, I assisted the Communications Manager formulate a survey for our members and then recommended a few changes when it was discussed at a meeting. Understanding the dynamics of a meeting is extremely important when working in any firm, so learning from experience will be a focus of mine over the next few weeks. Thirdly, the ability to stay on top of things is really important, so being able to work quickly and effectively will ensure this. The presence of this challenge means that I am constantly learning and growing, which is hugely important to me.
Are you interested in working within the insurance industry?
Absolutely. Since starting my internship with Insurance Ireland, I have learnt so much about the industry. Meeting and working with other financial services is exciting, particularly at a time when promoting Ireland as an attractive location for investment is proving to be crucial for our economy post-Brexit. Working in the insurance industry offers a great opportunity to work alongside a mix of organisations and businesses, ranging from the Government to multinational corporations. The insurance industry is constantly changing, so it offers something different every day.
How do you see yourself progressing your career over the next five years?
With my undergrad finished, I aim to work and build up my professional experience for the next 12 months before studying for a master’s degree. I believe that working for at least one year before committing to a master’s degree is important because it allows you to specialise in an area that you’re passionate about. Furthermore, applying the knowledge taken from a year of professional work experience would also contribute hugely to the success of my studies. I am interested in studying for an MSc in Management Consultancy in the future.