Recruiters create degree-level apprenticeships

Could degree-level apprenticeships be a game-changer for €3.2bn recruitment industry in Ireland?

Ireland has launched what is claimed to be a world-first in education with the introduction of a degree-level qualification in recruitment.

Developed by the National Recruitment Federation (NRF), the three-year Honours Degree in Recruitment Practice involves the apprenticeship learning model.

“Jobs are changing and the way we do them is evolving rapidly”

The recruitment executive, whether a school-leaver, new recruit or existing employee is retained by a recruitment agency and learns on the job and through online tutorials, while attending college one day a week.

Masterminding the future of work

Recruitment is a €3.2bn industry in Ireland with more than 7,500 employed in the sector. As well as supporting formal career paths in recruitment in Ireland, graduates of the new course will also enhance their global employment prospects. 

The degree course is Government funded and aligns with the Action Plan on Apprenticeships and the National Further Education and Training Strategy Minister Harris unveiled last week.

The strategy offers a new range of apprenticeships, meaning the opportunity for everyone to engage in learning while also delivering critical skills and roles essential to economic recovery and the future world of work.

“This new recruitment apprenticeship degree offers a brand-new career route for school leavers, not previously available in the sector,” said Simon Harris TD, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.

“It will also assist in upskilling current employees, and offers an opportunity for individuals in other sectors to transfer into recruitment, with a structured career path, allowing them to earn while getting a degree”, Minister Harris said.

The level-8 Honours Degree will be delivered by IFSC-based, National College of Ireland in Dublin.

A Government funded course, participating recruitment agencies pay an annual registration fee for each apprentice enrolled. Enrolment is already underway for Ireland’s unique new recruitment degree, beginning in September 2020, and information is available on

Career development

A recognised degree qualification is hugely significant for standards within recruitment, for career development and for the confidence of clients in their recruiters, according to Geraldine King, CEO of the National Recruitment Federation.

“The NRF wanted to ensure uniform standards across the industry and provide a qualification that gives holders a competitive edge, whether new to the industry or experienced recruiters wishing to expand their knowledge” said King, who helped develop the formal education programme.

Entry is subject to interview and participating recruitment agencies must provide a dedicated mentor for each apprentice, as work-based learning assessments account for up to 50% of the course assessment.

The full-time, three-year blended learning programme combines online and traditional on-campus tutorials, although exclusive online study is likely for at least the first term, due to Covid-19 protocols

Dr Colette Darcy, Dean of the School of Business at NCI in Dublin added: “This vocational degree will give candidates the knowledge and practical skills to succeed in recruitment and develop their career, whether starting out, progressing to management or considering a career change.”

The three-year degree develops understanding of professional recruitment practice, including business strategy and planning, ICT tools for recruitment, leading teams, financial management, stakeholder relationship management and understanding contracts, governance and legal requirements.

Geraldine King said the National Recruitment Federation has prioritised the design and delivery of quality standards and education solutions for the Irish recruitment sector.

As industry and enterprise recovers from the impacts of Covid-19, the recruitment sector will play an important part in helping companies fill emerging new job vacancies and adapt to new ways of work, the NRF CEO believes.

“Jobs are changing and the way we do them is evolving rapidly. Contracts of employment in the emerging gig economy are different, and finding the right talent and skillsets for evolving roles and technology requires highly professional recruiters who are aligned with the new needs of business”, King concluded.

“This degree qualification is a world-first for Ireland and professionalises recruitment in its own right, within the national framework of education. As well as developing our people, we can attract key talent to the industry and highlight career opportunities.”

Pictured above: Simon Harris TD, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, with Geraldine King, CEO of the National Recruitment Federation

Written by John Kennedy (

Published: 12 August, 2020