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 Paul Meany from Department of Education and Skills to give some advice for people considering this job:


Paul Meany

School Principal

Department of Education and Skills

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  Paul Meany

Need to have a belief about the value of the sort of education provided by the school to which you are applying.

Need to be able to cope with ambivalence - being leader in the school is not a black and white thing.

Need to believe in people, whether it is staff or students.


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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Industrial Insulator
In Summary header image

Industrial Insulator

The Industrial Insulator’s job involves measuring, cutting and fitting a variety of insulation materials to pipes, valves, pressure vessels, tanks, ducting, flues or on any hot or cold surfaces for the purpose of thermal insulation, fireproofing or soundproofing. It also involves the cladding of the insulation material with suitable coverings such as sheet metal, aluminium, zinc, stainless steel or other specified coverings and finishes, such as, felt, cement, various rubbers, canvas and foils.

Metal cladding involves pattern layout and development of sheetmetal (mild steel, galvanised mild steel, stainless steel, aluminium and other alloys) up to 1.2mm and the use of various machines.

These patterns would include pipe work, vessels, domed ends, valve and angle boxes, tee pieces, reducers, transformers etc. The patterns are then fabricated by hand and with the aid of machines.

Industrial Insulator’s require many skills including:
  • Working with a variety of specialised hand and power tools
  • Operation of a wide range of machinery: Guillotine, folding machines, hand & electric swaging machines, hand & electric rolling machines, electric hand shears, hand drills, rotary shears and lock forming machines
  • Drawing Pattern Development
  • Insulating pipe work, ductwork, valves, flanges and pressure vessels
  • Fabrication of all forms of cladding
  • A wide range of assembly and finishing techniques - self-securing joints, riveting, fasteners, flanging, swaging and banding
  • Knowledge of non-metallic fi nishing may be joined by adhesives, banding or strapping
  • Performing a range of modern cutting processes
  • Operation of CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machinery
  • Planning, costing/estimating
  • Quality and cost control
  • Knowledge and application of energy conservation
  • Knowledge and application of Health and Safety considerations

Training header image

Phase 1: With Employer

  • Induction Training with Employer
  • Introduction to Health & Safety
  • Introduction to Tools & Equipment
  • Introduction to Basic Skills 
Phase 2: Delivered in Training Centre (20 weeks)
  • Induction
  • Sheetmetal and Insulation Fundamentals
  • Geometry and Pattern Development
  • Substructures, Advanced Coldwork and Cladding
  • Insulation—Materials, Science & Applications
  • Insulation and Cladding of Ductwork and Vessels
  • Insulation and Cladding of Training Rig 
Phase 3: With Employer

Work Based Training and Assessments

Phase 4: Delivered in Educational Colleges (11 weeks)
  • Geometry and Pattern Development
  • Insulation Materials and Science & Application
  • Customised Fabrication and Fitting
  • Large Scale Projects 

Phase 5: With Employer

Work Based Training and Assessments

The overall duration of this apprenticeship is a minimum of 4 years provided all phases are successfully completed.

On successful completion of the programme the learner is awarded a Level 6 Advanced Certificate Craft - Industrial Insulation.

Personal Qualities header image

  • As an Industrial Insulator you will need to be physically active and to be able to work with your hands
  • An awareness of health and safety and good housekeeping is essential as well as attention to detail
The Industrial Insulator must have the ability to:
  • Plan and organise
  • Communicate eff ectively
  • Solve problems
  • Work independently and as part of a team
  • Show a positive attitude
  • Recognise the need for good customer relations
  • Demonstrate good work practices including time keeping, tidiness, responsibility, quality awareness and safety awareness
Note: A person wishing to become an apprentice Industrial Insulator must pass a colour–vision test approved by SOLAS.

Work Activities header image

  • Learning and developing new practical craft-related skills, knowledge and competence
  • Working with and learning from experienced craftspersons
  • Seeing a job through from start to finish
  • Comply with Health and Safety requirements
  • Using tools and operating machinery
  • Being responsible for controlling or adjusting equipment
  • Demonstrate good analytical and troubleshooting skills
  • Understanding technical drawings and diagrams
  • Being well organised and careful with practical tasks
  • Keeping up to date with changing technologies
  • Being physically active
  • Taking responsibility for own learning, including the allocation of study time
  • Working in a noisy environment
  • Passing all your phase exams (theory, practicals skills demonstration)
  • Earning as you learn

Pay & Fees header image

More information coming soon ...

Funding Arrangements

All apprentices are paid a Training Allowance while attending off-the-job training in training centres or college, and an Apprentice Rate of pay during the on-the-job phases of their apprenticeship.

Details of the Training Allowances payable are available here.

What apprentice rate wages are paid?

Apprentice rates are paid for the on-the-job phases of apprenticeships. The actual rates paid may vary depending on the occupation and employer. Generally, the rates will increase in a number of steps during the apprenticeship. For example:


All other Trades




€ / hr

€ / hr

1st Year Rate

2nd Year Rate

3rd Year Rate

4th Year Rate









Note: You should always seek details of specific rates of pay for apprentices from prospective employers.

Apprentice Student Contribution

The Annual Student Contribution is levied on students attending Higher Education Institutions including Institutes of Technology. As part of the changes included in Budget 2014, apprentices now pay the same contribution as full time students, but their contribution is based on the time they spend in the Institute or College.

The Student Contribution is payable to the IoT /College on the date of registration for the training phase. You should consult the relevant IoT/College for details of payment options.

Note: Apprentices are required to pay an examination fee to the IoT or College for repeat exams. 

Female Apprentices' bursary for employers

To promote the entry of women into the designated apprenticeships, a bursary is available to employers to encourage an increased level of recruitment of female apprentices.

For more information Click here or contact your local ETB Training Centre.

Entry Requirements header image

The minimum age at which the employment of an apprentice may commence is 16 years of age. 
The minimum educational requirements are: 
1. Grade D in five subjects in the Department of Education & Skills Junior Certificate Examination or an approved equivalent,
2. The successful completion of an approved Pre-Apprenticeship course 
3. Three years’ work experience gained over sixteen years of age in a relevant designated industrial activity as SOLAS shall deem acceptable 

Note: These are the current approved minimum educational requirements for apprenticeship programmes, however, previous experience of the following subjects would be an advantage but not essential:

  • Metalwork
  • Engineering
  • Technical Drawing/Graphics
  • Physics
  • Technology
  • Mathematics

Getting an Apprenticeship header image

You must obtain employment as an apprentice in your chosen occupation.

  • The employer must be approved to train apprentices.
  • The employer must register you as an apprentice within two weeks of recruitment.
Are you interested in a construction apprenticeship?
If so, register your interest by creating an account and uploading a short personal profile via this link.

Career Opportunities header image

This is very much a specialised niche area. On successful completion of the apprenticeship programme, apprentices are qualified to work within the recognised trade or profession. 

Where apprentices and craftspersons have the necessary ability, initiative and basic qualifications, opportunities are available for advancement. These include advanced technology courses and management courses which are available in Institutes of Technology, Schools of Management and Professional Institutes.

Many craftspersons use their apprenticeship qualification as a platform to launch careers such as engineers, managers, owners of businesses, teachers and instructors amongst others.

Occupation Profile header image

Information to follow...

Progression Routes header image

Information to follow...

Occupation Data

Industrial Insulator

Industry Expert(s)