Thursday, 21 May 2015

Brand new (ISC)2 CCSP and Microsoft MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect courses from Firebrand


By Sarah Morgan


With IDC predicting 7 million cloud jobs created by 2015, mastering cloud technology can lead to a fulfilling and profitable career.

And to help you build – and prove – your knowledge of cloud computing, Firebrand has launched two brand new career changing accelerated cloud certification courses:



(ISC)2 Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) - only six days

On this six day accelerated course, you’ll get the knowledge you need to secure your organisation’s cloud infrastructure.

Your business may be using an outdated approach to cloud technology which could open the way for costly and embarrassing cyber-attacks. To prevent these malicious attacks, businesses around the world need CCSP certified professionals with advanced cloud security skills.

Achieve the CCSP and you’ll learn how to secure cloud environments & purchased cloud services. You’ll also study:

  • Cloud data, platform, infrastructure and application security
  • Architectural concepts & design requirements
  • Compliance and legality
  • Operations

This advanced certification, developed by leading information security organisations, the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) and (ISC)2, proves your cloud security expertise at a global level – get it in only six days.



Microsoft MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect - only seven days

Get four Microsoft certifications in only seven days on this accelerated Microsoft MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect course.

You’ll learn how to migrate your existing on-premise infrastructure to Azure – Microsoft’s globally integrated cloud platform.

Plus, get the skills you need to design websites, application storage and infrastructure in Microsoft Azure.

On this course you’ll achieve a Microsoft MCSD and three Microsoft Specialist certifications, by studying and passing these Specialist courses:
  • Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions
  • Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions
  • Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions


190+ courses and counting

Firebrand’s portfolio now exceeds 180 accelerated courses from vendors like Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA.
(ISC)2

We’re committed to developing new accelerated courses. To stay up to date with our newest and most cutting edge training follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ and LinkedIn.

Find out how you can get certified at twice the speed and take a look at our full range of accelerated training.


Related articles

About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

How to get your TOGAF 9.1 certification in five steps


By Sarah Morgan


Use TOGAF 9.1 in your organisation and develop an enterprise architecture (EA) that’s free to use, consistent and aligned to industry best practices.

However, to prove you know how to use this renowned EA effectively, and to get on track for a £70,000 salary (ITJobsWatch), you need to get certified.



Passing both TOGAF certification exams and achieving your certification is an investment, but it can be a daunting. This guide will show you how to get TOGAF certified, in five simple steps.


1. Two-step approach vs. combined approach

You’ve decided to get TOGAF certified, but what now? To get the certification, you’ll need to pass both TOGAF exams:
  • Level 1: TOGAF 9 Foundation
  • Level 2: TOGAF 9 Certified
Your first choice is between the two-step approach and the combined approach. Take the two-step approach and you’ll pass the two TOGAF exams individually - the Level 1 first, followed by Level 2 when you feel comfortable with your chances of passing it.

The combined approach allows you to get both exams out of the way in one sitting, it’s faster but you’ll need to retain more knowledge.


2. Study the TOGAF 9.1 Framework

Get started by reading the TOGAF 9.1 framework. You’re able to access, and download, the entire framework on The Open Group’s website. A number of licensing options are available, depending on how you propose to use the framework:

  • A free, perpetual Corporate License is available to any organization wanting to use TOGAF 9.1 entirely for internal purposes.
  • A free, perpetual Academic License is free to any academic organization wanting to use TOGAF 9.1 entirely for academic (teaching and/or research) purposes.
  • An annual Commercial License is available for organizations wishing to exploit TOGAF 9.1 commercially.


3. Get yourself a TOGAF 9.1 study guide

Study guides are a near essential tool for any student embarking on self-study. As you might imagine for a popular certification like TOGAF, there are several effective guides available in both electronic and physical formats.

Take a look at the TOGAF® 9 Certified Study Guide - 3rd Edition if you’re attempting either the two-step or combined approach. This comprehensive study guide covers both certification levels and supports you as you prepare for both exams. It’s available on Amazon in both paperback and kindle, depending on your preference.

If you’re currently aiming to pass the Level 1 TOGAF certification exam, take a look at the TOGAF 9 Foundation Exam Study Guide. This foundation guide is concentrated and to-the-point, ideal for busy architects who need to learn TOGAF quickly. If you’re struggling with hundreds of pages of TOGAF documentation – this is for you. Get it on Amazon, in kindle and paperback.


4. Make the most of free TOGAF revision resources

Take a break from your study guide and TOGAF framework documentation to take a look at some external resources.

There are dozens of high quality TOGAF resources available online. And to save you from trawling the web to find the best, we’ve already compiled a list of our Top 10 TOGAF resources you don’t need to pay for, including:


Revision is much easier when you have a plethora of exam simulators, multiple choice practice exams, free presentations, TOGAF FAQ’s and instructional videos to support your knowledge.


5. Book your exam(s)

You’ve invested your precious time, and hard-earned cash, into revising TOGAF 9.1 - now it’s time to book your exams. However, before you do, make sure to test your knowledge against practice exam questions, here are our favourite:


To book your exam, simply navigate to Prometric’s website, register and find a local test centre.


I don’t have time to self-study!

Sometimes, even the most determined can’t fit self-study around their busy lives. For those who can’t invest the time, lack the motivation or simply need to get certified faster, there are other options.

For those who really need to get TOGAF 9.1 certified in the fastest possible time, take a look at Firebrand’s accelerated three day TOGAF course.


Related articles:


About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Thursday, 14 May 2015

New accelerated Microsoft courses from Firebrand


By Sarah Morgan


Become an Azure architect, learn how to install Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 in your organisation then master NAV 2015’s financial application area. Study it all - twice as fast as traditional training - on three new accelerated Firebrand courses.

Firebrand is excited to bring these new accelerated Microsoft courses to our ever expanding training portfolio:



Microsoft Specialist: Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions

Learn how to build websites, application storage and infrastructure with Azure – Microsoft’s global cloud platform that boasts over 90,000 new customer subscriptions per month.

The third Azure specialist course in Firebrand’s portfolio, Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions will give you the skills you need to design public and hybrid cloud solutions.

Study Microsoft Official Curriculum, take your Microsoft exam 70-534 onsite at the end of your three day course, and return to work certified.

Become an Azure Architect in only three days!





Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 Financials

Learn how to automate and streamline your business processes with Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 financials. In just six days you’ll get the knowledge you need to manage your business with NAV 2015 and get to grips with new features like Tablet Client and Office365 integration.

By the end of this six day course, you’ll be able to setup and use the Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 Finance application area. You’ll also learn:

  • How to setup and use VAT, budgets, cash management & multiple currencies
  • Basics of Sales and Purchase
  • Basic functionalities, including sorting and filtering
  • Management of roles and user rights
  • Creation of fixed assets and how to use them in transactions

Learn how to manage your organisation’s finances with Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 in only six days!


Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 Installation and Configuration

On this accelerated two day course you’ll learn how to install and configure Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015. Built for small and medium sized businesses, NAV 2015 will manage your organisations finance, manufacturing, sales and more.

Make the most of the newest version of Dynamics NAV; get introduced to new features like an enhanced PowerShell API and single sign-on with Office365.

Learn how to install and configure Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015, and configure multiple NAV 2015 client types, in just two days with Firebrand.


180+ courses and counting

Firebrand’s portfolio now exceeds 180 accelerated courses from vendors like Microsoft, Cisco, (ISC)2 and CompTIA.

We’re committed to developing new accelerated courses. To stay up to date with our newest and most cutting edge training follow us onTwitter, Facebook and Google+ and LinkedIn.

Find out how you can get certified at twice the speed and take a look at our full range of accelerated training.


Related articles



About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Firebrand instructors get double win at Cisco Instructor Excellence Award 2015


By Sarah Morgan


Firebrand instructors, Dave Petts and Richard Greaves, were this year acknowledged for providing the highest quality of Cisco training when they won the Cisco Instructor Excellence Award 2015.



Both trainers were recognised amongst the top Routing & Switching instructors in the EMEAR region.

When announcing the award, Cisco said: “The 2015 award winners exemplified the highest quality training experience and demonstrated best overall performance.”

The award, as measured by student satisfaction surveys in 2014, highlights the exemplary commitment of Firebrand’s instructors around the world. Both Dave Petts and Richard Greaves have proved their technical expertise and drive to become the best in their field.

Cisco Instructor Excellence Award winners represent the top 25% of Certified Cisco Systems Instructors (CCSI) globally.

Firebrand Training’s UK Managing Director, Emma Seaman said:

“I’m delighted to hear of Dave and Richard’s success this year at the Cisco Instructor Excellence Awards. Their commitment reflects our ethos to deliver the highest quality of training. We’re immensely proud to count them amongst our team of dedicated instructors; they’re true firebrands.”

Firebrand is an official provider of accelerated Cisco training. Since launching in 2001, Firebrand has trained over 54,000 students with the help of dedicated and committed instructors.

About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Thursday, 7 May 2015

PMP exam 2015 update - here are your new tasks


By Sarah Morgan


On 1 November 2015 your PMP exam will be changing to align with the current status of the project management profession.




If you’re taking your exam after November 1, you’ll need to prepare for 8 entirely new tasks found across domains 1-to-4. To save you from searching the PMP Examination Content Outline, here they are…


Domain 1 – Initiating the Project

  • Task 2
    • Identify key deliverables based on the business requirements, in order to manage customer expectations and direct the achievement of project goals.
  • Task 7
    • Conduct benefit analysis with stakeholders (including sponsor, customer, subject matter experts), in order to validate project alignment with organisational strategy and expected business value.
  • Task 8
    • Inform stakeholders of the approved project charter, in order to ensure common understanding of the key deliverables, milestones, and their roles and responsibilities.


Domain 2 – Planning the Project

  • Task 13
    • Develop the stakeholder management plan by analysing needs, interests, and potential impact, in order to effectively manage stakeholders' expectations and engage them in project decisions.


Domain 3 – Executing the Project

  • Task 6
    • Manage the flow of information by following the communications plan, in order to keep stakeholders engaged and informed.
  • Task 7
    • Maintain stakeholder relationships by following the stakeholder management plan, in order to receive continued support and manage expectations.


Domain 4 – Monitoring and Controlling the Project

  • Task 6
    • Capture, analyse, and manage lessons learned using lessons learned management techniques, in order to enable continuous improvement.
  • Task 7
    • Monitor procurement activities according to the procurement plan, in order to verify compliance with project objectives.


Domain 5 – Closing the Project

There are no new tasks in Domain 5.


Please note: this is not the finalised version of the PMP examination content outline. The proportion of questions from each domain that will appear on the exam has not as yet been determined.

The knowledge and skills associated with these domains and tasks will be forthcoming. PMI state that this information will be available no later than 15 June 2015.

For more information on the 2015 PMP update, and for frequently asked questions, take a look at this blog.

Related articles:


About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Your PMP exam is changing in 2015


By Sarah Morgan


The PMP certification proves you’ve got up-to-date project management skills and gets you on track for a massive £55,000 salary (ITJobsWatch).


Owing to these reasons, and many more, the PMP® is one of the most important certifications for project managers. And in order to stay relevant alongside the changing demands of project management professionals the PMP must continually evolve. On 1 November 2015 your PMP exam will be changing.

How is the PMP exam changing?

The five domains of practice for the PMP are staying the same. However, new tasks are being introduced and current tasks modified or removed. As of 1 November 2015, the current exam will be retired and only the new version of the PMP exam will be administered.

See the below table for a brief look at the new tasks added across the domains. Or for a more detailed overview of what the new tasks are, take a look at this blog.



Frequently Asked Questions


Q. Why is the PMP exam changing?

A. PMI are updating the PMP certification to reflect the current status of the project management profession.

A recently completed Role Delineation Study (RDS) – a method used to identify and prioritise crucial tasks of a job or profession – has provided a new description for the role of PMP professionals.


Q. What major differences in the role of project management professionals were identified by the RDS study?

A. PMI’s most recent RDS has shown that the role of the PMP has remained largely consistent over the past few years. However PMI do acknowledge that some aspects of the role have changed over time. These include:

  • Inclusion of benefits analysis and realisation
  • Looking at risk management in terms of opportunity
  • Placing more emphasis on stakeholder management plans and communications
  • Additional focus on lessons learned


Q. This exam update is only affecting the tasks, but to what extent?

A. Some tasks have been slightly modified whereas others have been changed or deleted entirely. In addition to this, there are also 8 entirely new tasks. Take a look at this blog post for more details on the relevant tasks.


Q. Will I need to take a different preparation course now that the exam is being updated?

A. PMI Chapters and R.E.P.s have been informed of this change and should be updating their courses accordingly.

Firebrand will be ready to deliver the new PMP content on our accelerated four day course, when the current exam is retired in November 2015.


Q. I’m studying for the PMP, how will this affect me as a candidate?

A. If you take your PMP exam after the 1 November date, be aware that you will be taking the new exam. Get caught out and you risk revising out-of-date content.

However, the PMP application and testing process remains the same.


Q. I don’t want to test under the new version of the content – what can I do?

A. If you don’t want to be tested on the new version of the PMP exam, you must test on or before 1 November 2015. After this date all PMP exams (this includes retakes and language aids) will reflect the new exam content outline.


Q. Will the exam report change?

A. No – the PMP exam report will remain the same. For computer based tests (CBT), you will continue to receive an exam report immediately after testing.


More to come from PMI...

It is important to note that this is not the finalised version of the content outline (at the time of publication). Currently, the proportion of questions from each domain that will appear on the final exam has not yet been determined. This information will be available by 15 June 2015.

For more information, take a look at the official PMI PMP FAQ.


Related articles:

About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Meet the young entrepreneurs whose digital businesses just got royal backing


By Sarah Morgan


Yesterday Britain’s young entrepreneurs showcased their digital skills at the iDEA final, hosted by HRH The Duke of York, KG, where they pitched their businesses to a prestigious audience.

With the chance to win up to £15,000 and support from Microsoft, Barclays and Facebook for their digital businesses, the stakes were high.


The prestigious event was hosted by the Duke of York



To reach this final stage, teams of 14-25 year olds proved they had what it takes to become the young entrepreneurs of tomorrow. To do this, they had to demonstrate their skill by taking a business idea from concept to prototype.

Ten talented young teams reached the final, hosted on Monday at St James’ palace. Each team made their pitch, and the winners were announced – congratulations to the young entrepreneurs behind Candle Path, Learner Lane and YOMA Education!

Meet the entrepreneurs of tomorrow


The award ceremony was introduced with an original video from George the Poet, created especially for iDEA.


After pitching their businesses, alongside working prototypes, the winning teams of young entrepreneurs were chosen by a panel of high profile judges, including: Ian Livingstone MBE, Eileen Burbideg of Passion Capital and Annika Small of Nominet Trust.

When describing the winners, The Duke said: “This is the pinnacle of what we’re trying to achieve with iDEA: it is the use of the digital world in order to provide solutions. All of these young people have solved some unique and specialist challenges. I believe they can be standard bearers for all the ideas that are out there”

Ian Livingstone, chairman of the judging panel and founder of Games Workshop, announced the three winners:
  • Candle Path is a mobile application designed to use open data and advanced algorithms to get you from A-B using the safest routes – ideal after a night out / leaving work late. The app will be receiving a re-brand and will launch under the name Luna 
  • The young entrepreneurs behind Learner Lane help students excel by simplifying the process of one-on-one tutoring. Users can search by postcode and book a vetted academic tutor in minutes.
  • Four talented young entrepreneurs created YOMA Education - an app that aims to enrich the communication and learning of children with autism. With user friendly AI and easy-to-use functionality, YOMA hopes to improve the quality of learning for autistic students.



Getting you home safely - Candle Path




Candle Path, Learner Lane and Yoma Education will now each receive £15,000 to develop their ideas, as well as professional mentoring and support from Microsoft Ventures, Barclays and Facebook.


The young team behind YOMA Education






A win for Learner Lane





What is iDEA?

Launched in March 2014 by the Duke of York and Nominet Trust, iDEA supports young people by helping them build skills in digital and enterprise arenas. The competition is open to 14-25 year olds and applicants work in teams of 2 – 4.  This year’s competition saw participation from over 700 young people.

Sign up for next year

If you have a passion for digital technology, and want to see your idea become a reality – sign up now and you’ll be notified once the competition opens again in September 2015.


Register your interest for the for the iDEA 2015/2016 competition





About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Monday, 13 April 2015

Crack the new CISSP CBK with these CISSP training resources


By Sarah Morgan


Your CISSP exam and curriculum is changing. With the release of a brand new exam blueprint and updated CISSP domains imminent, the material you're revising now will soon be out of date.

The switch will be made on April 16th 2015, when the ten CISSP CBK domains will be reduced to eight.


As a result of this refresh, the CISSP exam will be altered to reflect the new CBK changes (but will remain the same format). Any training or revision material you use must also be updated, or you’ll risk revising irrelevant content!

Don’t get caught out by the 2015 domain refresh. Take a look at these up-to-date revision resources, aligned to the 8 brand new CISSP domains.


1. Official (ISC)2 Guide to the CISSP CBK, Fourth Edition (ISC2 Press) Hardcover – 10 Apr 2015 
ISBN-13: 978-1482262759

Released last week, you don’t get any more up-to-date than (ISC)2’s Official Guide to the CISSP CBK.

This official guide, endorsed by (ISC)2 and edited by Adam Gordon, covers the refreshed technical content added to the CISSP CBK. The book provides a comprehensive guide to the eight CISSP domains and includes illustrated examples, practical exercises and real-life scenarios.

How to buy it:


And remember, if you’re an (ISC)2 member, you’ll get 50% off Official (ISC)2 textbooks!


2. The NEW 2015 CISSP Exam. Brace Yourself (and prepare yourself)! Webcast with Dave miller

Dave Miller has been an IT security specialist since 1980, is a published author and lecturer. So it’s no surprise he’s been following the new CISSP CBK with interest.

His comprehensive webcast, originally hosted March 17th 2015, is now available for free online at Oreily.com. The 93 minute webcast covers an abundance of CISSP topics including:

  • A review of the 2012 CISSP certification exam
  • The new CISSP 2015 examination
  • CISSP certification requirements
  • New test-worthy topics
  • How to prepare for the new CBK and CISSP exam
  • Conclusion: Q&A

To watch the webcast, sign up here.


3. (ISC)2 Overview & Key areas of knowledge in the 8 new CISSP domains

(ISC)2 has released a candidate information bulletin in line with the new CISSP exam blueprint. This massive document includes overviews of each of the 8 brand new CISSP domains alongside the key areas of knowledge you’ll need to understand to pass your exam.

This resource is excellent for any professional who needs a quick refresher on what’s contained in the new CISSP domains.

However, don’t treat the information found here as replacements for experience or knowledge - (ISC)2 state that, “[The candidate information bulletins] were developed to provide candidates with basic information…the outlines are not intended to be in-depth reviews of the examination.”

Access the document here.


4. (ISC)2 sample exam questions

Also included in the (ISC)2 CISSP candidate bulletin are sample questions, aligned to the new exam blueprint. We’ve included them below:


1. Which one of the following is the MOST important security consideration when selecting a new computer facility?

a. Local law enforcement response times
b. Adjacent to competitors’ facilities
c. Aircraft flight paths
d. Utility infrastructure

2. Which one of the following describes a SYN flood attack?

a. Rapid transmission of Internet Relay Chat (IRC) messages
b. Creating a high number of half-open connections
c. Disabling the Domain Name Service (DNS) server
d. Excessive list linking of users and files

3. Which one of the following is a limitation of fuzzing, as it relates to secure software development best practice?

a. Access to the source code is required
b. Not all discovered issues are exploitable
c. Issues must be accessible through an open interface
d. Is not suitable where code development is outsourced

Find the answers on Page 33 of the CISSP candidate bulletin.


Got a burning CISSP question?

If you’ve got more questions, take a look at our CISSP FAQ covering the new exam blueprint.

And if you need to get certified with accelerated CISSP training, good news – Firebrand are the only authorised (ISC)2 partner in the UK and will be teaching the latest 2015 CISSP material from the 20th April 2015.


Related articles:



About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Friday, 10 April 2015

Why Microsoft and The Government support IT apprenticeships


By Sarah Morgan


National Apprenticeship Week has been and gone, but many businesses still don’t realise that you can access £10,000s of training for your staff or that you can use apprenticeships to bring new talent and skills into your organisation.


Find out about the benefits of IT apprenticeships from employers and apprentices, and hear from Microsoft, The Government and BCS. That was the agenda of Firebrand’s NAW2015 event, but if you couldn’t make it - here are the highlights.


What’s in it for employers?

Government Apprenticeships Ambassador, Andrew Jones MP kicked off the event with some startling statistics. A record 2 million people from across the UK have become apprentices over the past five years but only 15% of companies have offered apprenticeships.

Andrew Jones MP takes the stage at our event


That is in some ways a bad figure, and in some ways a good figure. If we have made huge progress but only 15% of companies have been engaged - we have an enormous opportunity…we still therefore have to get the message across – ‘Why companies should engage.’” Andrews Jones MP

Andrew Jones is clear; we are succeeding in attracting young people to apprenticeships, but with only 15% of organisations engaged, there is a massive opportunity to get more business on-board.

Here’s why employers should get involved:
  • 88% of businesses report increased employee satisfaction
  • 5 million consumers more likely to make a purchase from an apprentice employer
  • 80% of companies who have taken on an apprentice report a lower staff turnover
  • Reduced recruitment costs
  • Employers benefit by £6000 after the first year of the apprenticeship program
  • 75% of business report gaining highly committed new staff (Microsoft)

And that’s without considering IT apprenticeship funding worth up to £27,000.


What is Microsoft doing for apprenticeships?

Microsoft’s 30,000 partners have faced challenges in hiring new staff, especially without paying £10,000’s in recruitment fees, states Dominic Gill, Microsoft Apprenticeship Lead. ‘Existing routes weren’t working,’ and businesses need to look for alternative options to bring in new talent.

There has been a significant decline in computer science graduates since 2006 – the UK suffering most with a 63% reduction in graduates. Dominic Gill knows apprenticeships are integral in solving the skills shortage, and Microsoft’s Get On initiative is evidence of their commitment.

The success of Microsoft Apprenticeships is astonishing with over 7000 young people starting their careers with apprenticeships since 2010.

And that’s not all. As Dominic concludes – “[Microsoft] are actually looking to start 3,500 new apprenticeships this year.”


Hear from the employers & apprentices themselves

Attendees got the opportunity to learn about IT apprenticeships from the apprentices and employers themselves. Microsoft Apprenticeships Lead Dominic Gill chaired a panel discussion with guests including:

  • Brett Raynes – founder of Cloud Direct and Firebrand apprentice employer
  • Simon Wade – HR manager at 5G communications and Firebrand apprentice employer
  • Richard Smith – apprentice at 5G communications and Firebrand apprentice
  • Kimberley Bolton – Pythagoras Communication and First female Apprentice of the Year Winner, Microsoft Apprentice Ambassador and Firebrand Apprentice


Dom Gill: What made you first start recruiting an apprentice rather than a graduate?


Brett Raynes: I think fundamentally we realised that success was not about whether you had a degree or not it was all about talent and attitude - the usual stuff that would make a success of any recruit you would bring into the company.


Dom Gill: What role did the training provider initially play in the decision process?

Brett Raynes – Firebrand were the inspiration to do it; they helped with the selection…and support for the apprentices when they joined the company…they were absolutely critical to the whole process.


Simon Wade – [Our Technical Manager] was at Firebrand on a training course and he saw all these people scribbling away in a room doing lots and lots of work…and this was about half past six/ seven o clock at night…and he said to someone, ‘who are they?’ and they said, ‘they’re apprentices.’ He came back to work and he said, ‘We’re getting some apprentices.’


Dom Gill: [Towards the apprentices] What do you do day-to-day?


Richard Smith: Myself and the other apprentice sit down and build the solutions for the field engineers…then once we’ve built the solution, the kits brought in and we then program-up the kit for the customers’ requirements...we test in house and we then ship it out to the customer…that’s what we do on a daily basis.


Dom Gill: What would you say would be the most interesting project you’ve worked on?


Kimberley Bolton: Being an Apprenticeships Ambassador with Microsoft…my main thing is trying to get more women into IT…so a chance to be here and be able to speak out and say it can be done, that to me is my best project.

Kimberley Bolton talks IT apprenticeshipsduring the panel discussion



Dom Gill: Any thoughts on how we could attract more women in IT?


Kimberley Bolton: Personally I think it’s about publicity…I don’t think the problem is with the companies, because when I’m at these events and I talk to the companies they want females - It’s not about them worrying that ‘[Women] aren’t going to be as good.’


Meet the apprentices themselves, including Firebrand Apprentice Kimberley Bolton, in the video below:



Keep a look out for the next event!

Make sure to follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ and don’t miss the next employer-focused apprenticeships event!

Employer? Apprentice? Find out more about Firebrand’s IT apprenticeships now.


Related articles:



About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 training now available from Firebrand


By Sarah Morgan


Update your knowledge with the newest version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 and master new features like targeted marketing campaigns, voice control and a dashboard to monitor social media.

Firebrand has built four new accelerated courses, aligned to the recently released Microsoft Dynamics 2015:


This is your fastest way to learn and master Microsoft Dynamics 2015. Firebrand is a Microsoft Gold Learning Partner - you’ll study Microsoft Official Curriculum and sit your exams onsite on these accelerated courses.

What’s new in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015?

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 was released December 1st 2014 in 130 markets and 44 languages. Get trained and you’ll get to grips with these new features:

  • 'Sales Collaboration Panel'
  • Social Listening 
  • Voice Control
  • Better sales campaigns

Social Listening

Use your social media dashboard to scan and look for words, phrases, and group discussions. You can even use Dynamics 2015 to listen for positive, negative or neutral words and phrases.

Dynamics CRM 2015 also provides an enhanced overview map showing your social media streams by country – an especially useful feature for any organisation operating across multiple markets, countries or regions.

To find out more about the advanced Social Listening features in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 – take a look at Firebrand’s accelerated Microsoft Dynamics Marketing 2015 course.


Voice control in CRM

Microsoft has integrated Cortana, their virtual voice-controlled assistant, in Dynamics CRM 2015.

As a result, you’ll now be able to schedule meetings and search contacts, accounts and activities with voice activated instructions. Cortana will also fix customer lists and create new customers. Plus, manage it all from your smartphone or tablet.


Better integration

Dynamics CRM 2015 extends Outlook integration, allowing you to you synchronize tasks and other data faster.

Lync integration is also included with an improved the 'click to call' feature and the ability to hold webinars.

Microsoft has also released a video describing the miscellaneous new features they’ve added to Dynamics:




180+ courses and counting

Firebrand’s portfolio now exceeds 180 accelerated courses from vendors like Microsoft, Cisco, (ISC)2 and CompTIA.

We’re committed to developing new accelerated courses. To stay up to date with our newest and most cutting edge training follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ and LinkedIn.

Find out how you can get certified at twice the speed and take a look at our full range of accelerated training.


About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry.