Do you ever feel as though your career options are extremely limited because you didn’t go to college? Perhaps you have peaked in your career and believe you cannot progress further without a qualification. You don’t have the confidence to apply for that job or that promotion because the other candidates have that prestigious piece of paper. So, what do you do? Do you accept it and merely take on the approach that the ship has sailed? Or do you grab the bull by the horns and be proactive. Peter Byrne did the latter.


Peter Byrne was a 25 year old Insurance worker. He didn’t go to college and entered the insurance profession at the age of twenty in an entry level position. A meandering career followed. He worked in several different insurance companies in roles varying from customer services right up to sales, renewals and administration. He worked hard but struggled to feel a sense of fulfilment. He was losing motivation as his options to progress were very limited. He completed his Insurance exams but there was still a missing piece to the puzzle. A recognised qualification in general.


Peter approached CMI and received some really empowering information from CMI. The person at the other end of the phone instilled confidence in him. He soon realised that it absolutely was not too late to achieve this qualification and that many of the students at CMI were almost double his age. He couldn’t believe that tradesmen were leaving their careers in search of an entirely new path. Chefs were becoming procurement officers. Builders were moving in to marketing. The sky was the limit and he had began to feel excitement at the prospect of upskilling and gaining a qualification himself.

Peter Byrne with his son Billy.


HR is something that really interested Peter. He really liked the sound of the CMI Advanced Diploma in HR Management and loved that it was practical, academic and resulted in a recognised industry qualification. What appealed to him the most was the fact that his lecturers would be HR Managers. Alongside their training qualifications they also had the practical industry knowledge. This was invaluable and really gave him the push to apply for the course.

Before he knew it Peter was accepted to the course. It was a painless process. Completely straight forward and it was a relief that there was no pre-requisite to enter the course. No previous qualifications was necessary. It felt like a fresh start. Peter loved the mix of modules. The fact that there was a module on administration was brilliant. It is rare to find a course that covers this topic in details. It is quite a vague term but is so relevant and important to any role. The practical HR workshops were also very enjoyable. He had great fun participating in the role-play that endeavoured to teach interviewing techniques. It was a nice change from the books and notes and it made the course more interesting.


The main thing that allowed Peter’s dream to become a reality was the fact that this CMI course was so accessible. Like many others Peter was not in a position to study full time. He simply had to remain dedicated to his full-time job. Thankfully all courses at CMI are in the evening time. Peter attended his course one evening per week from 6.30-9.30pm and the college was conveniently located in Dublin 2, City Centre. He looked forward to attending each week and felt a sense of confidence growing after each class. He also enjoyed the social element. His class was a mixture of ages, backgrounds and reasons for doing the course. This diversity made it even more interesting and the class always flew by.


Since completing the course (one year) Peter has progressed greatly in his career. He remains in the insurance field but is a more superior role doing a job that he really enjoys. A position he could have never applied for without a recognised qualification at this level. It felt amazing to be able to tick that box on the application form. He may not have ended up working in HR but the course was designed in such a way that so much of the content could be applied to various different industries.


The important thing to note here is that employers want to see qualifications. Even if the qualification is not directly related to the industry or role it will always look good. It shows diligence, ambition and the fact that you have committed to something professionally.  For Peter, CMI made all the difference. He started his new role and has since been promoted. His CMI course means a new life for his family and he is forever grateful for that.