Fast-track to success

Insurance & Risk Professional: What are your impressions of the workshops?

Samantha Forkas: Having first experienced the fast-track workshop last year, when I returned to complete the Diploma Block 2 this year, I had a prior understanding of how they worked and how the learning process benefited me. The workshop size was appropriate for the setting, and the layout enables fellow brokers to discuss and bounce ideas off each other, opening your mind to think about other methods of finding solutions.

Each table acts as a ‘broking house’ during the workshop, and the tables are mixed each day, ensuring you don’t sit with the same people twice. This built comradeship within the groups and I believe enforced learning by having to complete activities as a group. It encouraged every person to discuss their answers, right or wrong.

IRP: Why is the workshop preferable to distance learning for you?

SF: There are many reasons I prefer the workshop. For one thing, it’s a much quicker way of earning your qualifications. Rather than spending 12 months via distance, I can have my qualification within six weeks, getting the bulk of the course done in three days.

The workshops also provide an environment where you are learning not only from the lecturer (who is a wealth of knowledge), but also from the fellow brokers taking the course. Each person has different levels of knowledge in particular areas and to be able to discuss matters with other participants helps you pick up a lot more than you would from reading a learning guide on your own.

The workshops are fun and insightful and the opportunity to work together with a group of other insurance professionals is invaluable.

If you’re distance learning and come across a concept that you don’t entirely understand, it takes time researching and asking colleagues for their thoughts. The workshop provides instant clarification, and the activities undertaken further enforce the information being taught.

IRP: Any other benefits from your point of view?

SF: I take my studies very seriously and find being in a workshop environment provides me with no opportunity to be distracted. I was able to sit, listen, read and take my notes. If I were learning via distance I know distractions would interrupt me and break my concentration, which could cause delays in completing the required learning and possibly affect the quality of your work.

It’s also very flexible, which works perfectly for me. Being a mother to a two-year-old, along with working full time, I knew that if I were to undertake distance learning it would be very difficult for me to find the time and motivation to get through all of the work. The workshop enabled me to get a bulk of the learning done, with just the final assignment for me to complete at home.

IRP: How important is it for you, professionally, to be able to fast-track your learning?

It’s great because it means attaining my QPIB status more quickly. This qualification on my business cards and even email signature shows my clients that I am qualified to handle their accounts. It also shows my company that I am willing and able to take on more responsibilities.

Being able to take the workshop course means less work will need to be done externally, and more time for me to spend maintaining and managing my clients’ accounts.

IRP: Would you recommend the workshops to others?

SF: Of course! There’s no comparison and I believe the difference in cost is well worth it for the level of knowledge gained from the workshops. They are fun and insightful and the opportunity to work together with a group of other insurance professionals is invaluable.

You get the opportunity to see situations from a range of perspectives; and you get the added benefit of being able to ask any questions if you are unsure. This makes the assignment a lot easier to complete. To me, there is no comparison to learning in a practical class environment.

Student profile 

Samantha is an Assistant Account Manager at Professional Risk Services in Melbourne. She attended the Tier 1 Workshop in July 2012 and followed that up with the Block 2 Workshop in February 2013.

Samantha has been employed in the insurance industry for four years following graduation from high school. Her career goals are to become a fully qualified account manager, and eventually to make the transition into the professional risks space.

Samantha was named NIBA College’s Student of the Month for November 2012.

Workshops vs. Distance

NIBA College offers flexible ways of completing your Diploma of Insurance Broking.


If you choose the distance route, all activities are carried out online. You have 12 months to complete Block 1 – Tier 1, and 12 months to complete Block 2.

The cost of completing Block 1 – Tier 1 is $1150 for NIBA members and $1460 for non-members.

The cost of completing Block 2 is $2600 for NIBA members and $3250for non-members.

The total cost is $3750 for NIBA members and $4710 for non-members.


If you choose the fast-track workshops, the three-day workshops are held in regional areas of between 12-23 pupils.

Upon completion of the workshops, students have 6 weeks to complete their assessment requirements. A number of practical assessments are carried out during the workshops, saving students’ time.

The Block 1 – Tier 1 workshop costs $1870 for NIBA members and$2320 for non-members.

The Block 2 workshop costs $3150 for NIBA members and $3890 for non-members.

The total cost is $5020 for NIBA members and $6210 for non-members.

For full details of your Diploma options visit or contact our Qualifications Advisor on (02) 9459 4300 or