Monday, 31 March 2014

Microsoft Office finally comes to your iPad


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As of 27th March, the iOS 7 compatible versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint are available in the App Store. Microsoft Office is finally coming to your iPad.

At last week's press conference, Microsoft’s new CEO Satya Nadella said the company wanted “to empower people to be productive and do more across all devices… Office 365 will be everywhere from here on out.”  
He added: "It is to make sure that the one billion Office users have access to the high fidelity Office experience on every device they love to use. Today's announcement marks one more step in that direction."


The newly available apps allow you to view Office files and documents on your iPad, however creating and editing are only enabled, after purchasing an Office 365 cloud subscription.

It was time to make this move

Microsoft’s move to a devices-and-services business model is essential to ensure a prosperous future. The company has to show commitment to delivering those services promptly on any platform. The iPad release of Office is an example of doing just that; delivering a new set of high-fidelity endpoints for the Office 365 services.

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, 25 March 2014

Staffing struggle: project managers


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According to the recent ESI 2013 Project Manager Salary and Development Survey by ESI International, organisations may soon face a shortage of project managers in their teams. Needless to say, it is a huge a disadvantage as the global economy is recovering.

The problem

Those responsible for project teams face short- and long-term challenges when it comes to the staffing and development of their project communities. As projects continue to increase in complexity and size, many project organizations find themselves with understaffed and underdeveloped work forces. In light of budget constraints, an aging base of experienced professionals, and a likely talent war on the horizon, those without a strategy for hiring, developing, and retaining top project talent are going to find it difficult to meet the increasing demand of their organizations.” - ESI 2013 Project Manager Salary & Development Survey

Mark Bashrum, Vice President of Corporate Marketing and Open Enrollment at ESI, said : "Budget constraints, an aging base of professionals and a looming talent war all contribute to a talent crisis that should be addressed from the highest levels of the organization". He also added: "The growing needs of businesses demand a more strategic view of the staffing, development and promotion of their project managers since project execution impacts an organization's bottom line and its ability to satisfy its customers."

Three main reasons

It’s important to highlight that the problem is not the lack of project managers; it is the lack of experienced, mid- and senior-level project managers.  According to the findings of the survey, 44% of shortages are for senior project managers. Furthermore, 48% of respondents stated it was “very difficult” to find senior staff.

CIO.com summarised the problem, in three points:
  • Many organisations are now expanding quickly as the economy is recovering and they’re either starting new projects or continuing projects that had previously been put on hold
  • Experienced, senior project managers are reaching retirement age or leaving for other reasons
  • Several organisations stopped actively training and developing new project managers internally due to financial cuts

Project Management training with Firebrand

Do you have the experience; you just need a certification to prove it? Or are you new to project management? Wherever you are in your career, we’ll have an accelerated project management course for you! Learn more about them here.

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, 24 March 2014

Digital Badges for ISACA Credential Verification


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ISACA has decided to take countermeasures against fraudulent security credentialing with the use of Open Badges. Open Badges by Mozilla are digitally displayed badges and in this case, they will be awarded to those who have completed training and acquired an ISACA certification.

How does it work?

Open Badges are secure digital representations of ISACA credentials, such as CISA, CISM, CGEIT or CRISC. They can be embedded into emails, personal websites, a résumé, as well as social and professional networking websites, such as Facebook and LinkedIn. Displaying your open badge across social platforms offers potential employers an easy way to verify and evaluate your competencies and achievement.
Once someone clicks on the badge, it calls up a set of metadata, verifying the certification and sums up the qualifications and the process, which were required to earn it.


“ISACA credentials are in demand by employers worldwide, and we are glad to offer our certification holders the opportunity to utilize open badges to demonstrate their accomplishments… Open Badges offer an efficient method for current and potential employers to validate a certification, and also give certification holders a simple and effective opportunity to tell their professional story and enhance their recognition.” said Allan Boardman, International Vice President of ISACA and Chair of ISACA’s Credentialing and Career Management Board, in a recent statement.

Which is your ISACA course?

CISA, CISM, CGEIT, CRISC. We run them all, just pick the one that suits you best. Visit our course page and view more details about accelerated ISACA training courses.

ISACA’s exam registration deadline is near

ISACA only runs its exams three times a year, with the next one coming up on 14th June. If you want to take your exam as early as possible, you have to register by 11th April, which is the final registration deadline for the June exam.

Have you already completed your course and registered for the exam? Well done, here are some revision tips for passing your exam! 

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, 21 March 2014

Hour of Code UK - over 2 million participants so far


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On the first week of March, Hour of Code UK launched a week-long event to promote computer sciences and more importantly to get students, teachers and parents excited about coding. As of today, over 2 million participants in the UK have tried an Hour of Code.


Recap: What’s Hour of Code?

Participants of Hour of Code will learn the basic skills of computer programming in 60 minutes, through fun tutorials and interesting activities. Hour of Code is suitable for all ages and abilities, neither students nor teachers need to have any experience to use the self-guided materials that are accessible for free on the UK Hour of Code website.



Testimonials

Code.org UK and its YouTube campaign video have seen some excellent feedback from students, teachers and parents alike. Here are a few great ones:

“I just did this in class an I LOVED it” – Student

"I have NEVER, EVER seen my students so excited about learning" – Teacher

"My 3 kids came home from school yesterday yelling about the Hour of Code. My six-year-old instructing me on how to program Angry Birds, my 10-year-old boy proclaiming 'I am going to be a software engineer. It is the job I was made for. It is my DESTINY!'" – Parent

Are you interested in learning the basics of coding in just 60 minutes? Get started with Hour of Code now! 

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, 20 March 2014

How LPI certifications can be your key to success


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Entering the world of Linux engineering can be quite challenging even for the most committed individual. Add this to this year’s Linux Jobs report, according to which 90% of employers find the recruitment of Linux professionals as either “somewhat difficult” or “very difficult” (an increase on last years’ results), and it becomes clear that a new approach is needed. The importance of raining has to receive more recognition.

Linux experts of UKFast on LPI qualifications

UKFast, founded in 1999, is a business-to-business (b2b) hosting provider, currently looking after 250,000 e-commerce websites. Linux plays a key role in service delivery and technical support at UKFast; therefore it is essential that the company has well trained engineers.

Although LPI Certifications won’t make you a system administrator (sysadmin) overnight, they do provide you with a range of massive advantages in the workplace. One key benefit of the LPICs is standardisation. The training provides the basics which will enable you to approach other systems with the confidence that you will be able to work out ways around the different deviations on your own.

What the LPI qualifications give you

The LPI qualification is a great way of initialising and developing your knowledge.

LPIC1 - provides you with the basic knowledge and skills common across all distributions of Linux, such as system architecture, administrative tasks and GNU and UNIX commands.

LPIC2 - builds on this and covers advanced skills for your role as a Linux Professional. To pass this level and obtain your certification, you are required to be able to administer a small to medium sized site.

LPIC3 - is designed for ‘Enterprise’ level engineers as it introduces specialised areas of expertise such as mixed environments and security.

Firebrand is an LPI Approved Training Partner

As a leading hosting company, UKFast receives a lot of CVs and applications from engineers who have taught themselves the LPIC essentials by using books or watching training videos online. This dedication shows that you’re dealing with a motivated individual, which is the key to success.

However, self-study is not an option for everyone, as the process can be very long and often hard to manage. If you’re committed to getting your LPI certification, visit Firebrand’s LPI page and pick the one best suits your needs.

For more information on LPI certifications and an interview with Bill Quinn, CEO of LPI UK & Ireland, read Going Pro with Linux.  

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, 19 March 2014

Windows XP retirement puts ATMs at risk


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As we mentioned in an earlier post, Microsoft will be discontinuing the support of Windows XP on 8th April. Windows XP has been one of the most popular operating systems ever created and its endgame is certainly going to impact more than just individual users. According to Gartner’s experts, around 10-15% of XP-using businesses will fail to migrate to a different operating system, but this is not the most worrying news.

ATMs at risk as XP is set to retire

This may come as a shocker, but over 2 million (95% of all) ATMs in the world are running on Windows XP and they will become easy targets for hackers and viruses once the support for XP has to come to its end.
To make matters worse, only about 1/3 of these ATMs are ready for an upgrade and preparing the remaining 2/3 would cost about £60 million.

However, we must also point out that ATMs are equipped with sophisticated, customised additional security. Therefore it is unlikely that they’d just “start shooting out money into the streets or things like that,” said James Lyne, Director of Technology Strategy at Sophos.

They knew the day would come

Microsoft already announced its plans to stop issuing security fixes for Windows XP in 2007. So it really shouldn’t have struck any bank as a surprise, yet quite a few failed to take action. Banking giants like RBS, Santander UK, Lloyds or HSBC have decided to sign up for three years of custom support, before migrating their ATM operations to Windows 7.

According to James Lyne, these changes have been hanging around for so long, so banks really should have thought about addressing them a long time ago. 

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, 17 March 2014

AdWords system is temporarily down for maintenance

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Those trying to log in to their Google Adwords account this morning are being greeted with the following error message:

"Thank you for your interest in advertising with Google. We apologize for any inconvenience, but the AdWords system is temporarily down for maintenance. Please try again in a few minutes"



As of yet it is unclear whether this is routine maintenance or Google has experienced some sort of server  failure. If it is a system failure, it would be the third time in a week where Google has experience such an issue with YouTube going offline twice in the last week. 

We'll keep you posted.

UPDATE: Back online as of 10:00 GMT.

About the Author

As part of Firebrand's global marketing team, Edward actively works to serve the IT community with news, reviews and technical how to guides. Working in the Industry for almost 3 years years, Edward has a wide variety of experience with Microsoft Technologies including SharePoint and Windows Server and Exchange Server. Edward is an active member of the IT community contributing to a variety of tech publications including Microsoft TechNet, Channel Pro and PC Advisor among others.

National Apprenticeship Week – more than 20,000 apprenticeships created


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If you read our blog on a regular basis, you already know that in the beginning of March the UK observed the seventh National Apprenticeships Week. This year, many small, medium and large enterprises have put in a sterling effort to provide earn-as-you-learn opportunities to committed young people.

To be a bit more specific, these employers have committed to creating over 20,000 new apprenticeships as part of this year’s National Apprenticeship Week.


Besides the likes of corporate giants such as Whitbread, EE or Lloyds Banking Group, several small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are demonstrating real commitment to apprenticeships. In fact, 47% of the employers creating new apprenticeships are SMEs.

Minister of State for Skills and Enterprise, Matthew Hancock MP says: “Apprenticeships are delivering for employers, young people, adults and the economy, and are increasing at a record rate. Nearly every employer that takes on an apprentice reports benefits to their business, including the ability to grow their own talents.”


Join the pledge, hire an apprentice

If you want passionate and eager talent in your business, now’s your time to hire an apprentice!  As part of our commitment to apprenticeships, Firebrand has pledged to place 200 IT Apprentices in UK businesses this year.

View the details of Firebrand Apprenticeships and gain the benefits of hiring an apprentice. Jointhe pledge now.  

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, 14 March 2014

Win free training for the rest of your life

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Firebrand is re-launching its Free Training for Life competition, giving another opportunity for one lucky person to be trained for life. Following in the footsteps of last year's winner, Joseph Guthrie, the winner could gain a prize estimated to be worth more than £1 million!

Which courses are covered?

The winner will gain access to all of Firebrand's 165+ courses. We are official learning partners with leading vendors including Microsoft, Cisco, CompTIA, EC-Council and (ISC)2, amongst others.

Whether you're in security looking at one of the world renowned CISSP or Certified Ethical Hacking certifications. Working as a Project Manager, looking to reinforce those skills with a PRINCE2 or PMP certification. Or maybe you're a techie working with Microsoft and Cisco technologies, looking to take CCNA or one of many MCSE certification tracks. Either way, we have a course for you.

The competition is open to anyone over the age of 16, living in the European countries where Firebrand operates: UK; DACH (Germany, Switzerland, Austria); Nordics (Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland); and Benelux (Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg). 

Enter by clicking the big red button below (don't worry, nothing will blow up....we think)
Free Training For Life - Firebrand Training

How to increase your chances of winning!

Once you've completed the entry form, you will be given a unique URL which you can share with your many friends and followers. Each time someone enters using your URL, you will gain an extra entry to the draw. So if 10 people enter that's 10 extra entries, if a 100 people enter, that's a 100 extra entries, and if 1000 people enter.....I think you get the picture.

So what are you waiting for, email your friends, put it on social media or maybe even put it on your blog if you have one.

The closing date for entries is Sunday 14th September 2014; and the winner will be announced at 13:00 GMT, Tuesday 30th September 2014.

For full terms and conditions, click here: www.firebrandtraining.co.uk/ftfl

Here's what last years winner had to say


So what are you waiting for?

About the Author

As part of Firebrand's global marketing team, Edward actively works to serve the IT community with news, reviews and technical how to guides. Working in the Industry for almost 3 years years, Edward has a wide variety of experience with Microsoft Technologies including SharePoint and Windows Server and Exchange Server. Edward is an active member of the IT community contributing to a variety of tech publications including Microsoft TechNet, Channel Pro and PC Advisor among others.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Great Apprenticeships – thoughts to consider


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Following last week’s National Apprenticeship Week events, it’s time to evaluate what has happened and find out what still needs to happen. If we’re to make this year’s “great apprenticeships” theme come alive, we’ll need to raise nationwide awareness of apprenticeship schemes.

What are the benefits of an apprenticeship?

From an employer’s perspective apprenticeships offer great opportunities to employ passionate young talent and train them, so that their skills perfectly fit the business’ needs and goals. Viewing it from an apprentice’s perspective, schemes present fantastic opportunities to learn on the job and gain real-life experience, while also earning money.

With the increased tuition fees, university learning has become less available (affordable) to many young people. However, this is not necessarily bad, because three or four years of theory-based learning is not for everyone, especially when it comes to practical professions, like engineering or computer sciences.


According to RealBusiness.co.uk employers regularly “educate themselves out” of great jobs, because they feel compelled to go to university just to have a degree in something. Guess what, there are apprenticeships that actually offer degree level education, whilst learning on the job.

Custom skills for custom needs

Not only are apprentices easier and cheaper to recruit, but their skills can be tailor-made for a specific role or business. Training an apprentice to fit the organisation will also make them more committed and loyal.

Employers need to act fast to get the best

According to Kate Russell, MD of Russell HR Consulting “there is a big pool of talent available nearing the end of A-Level or equivalent, many of whom will be concerned about higher education and what they should do next.

Given how early the nightmarish UCAS process starts, employers who get in early by going into schools and colleges throughout the two "further education" years to advertise the kind of people they’re looking for and what they have to offer, will get the best pick.

Business needs good people and employers have to work hard to get them. Learning on the job suits a lot of people, and with a structured training/work programme both employer and apprentice could well benefit equally well from the arrangement.”

If you're interested about apprenticeships, find out more by visiting Firebrand Apprenticeships.

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, 10 March 2014

Windows XP support ends on 8th April


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On 8th April, Microsoft will discontinue the support of the Windows XP Operating System and Office 2003. This means that you will no longer receive any updates, including service packs and security updates. These are vital to prevent the security issues related to running unsupported software.


Windows XP was launched over 12 years ago and as of October 2013 it was still the second most popular version of Windows, based on installed user base. Because of XP’s vast popularity, it is essential that the message reaches every user and they understand the potential consequences of the continued use of the unsupported operating system.

Experts answer questions about XP risks

According to Gartner’s experts, Steve Kleynhans and Michael Silver, around 10-15% of XP-user businesses will fail to migrate to a different operating system before the support ends on 8th April. This could result in serious consequences, because an unprotected operating system can be an easy target for attackers, who may steal company data or disrupt operations.

As outlined by Michael Silver, there are ways to mitigate the risks originating from a potential failure to migrate from XP, but they are not going to provide a long-term solution for businesses. Requesting custom support from Microsoft is one option to prolong the life of XP, however that is a costly solution. To learn more about how to reduce risks of using Microsoft XP after official support has ended, watch the following video:



If you or your company are still using Windows XP, we strongly recommend you to take action now and upgrade through Microsoft’s Get Modern initiative. 

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, 7 March 2014

Open your eyes to apprentice opportunities


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Today marked the end of the seventh National Apprenticeship Week. This year’s theme was “Great Apprenticeships” and its primary goal was to raise the profile and significance of apprenticeships in the UK. In order to achieve this, over 700 events were organised and hosted by colleges and employers. Since so many young people are potentially struggling to get onto the career ladder, it is essential that apprenticeships get full support and greater exposure. And hopefully, this week of events did just that.

The following part is based on Matthew Bell’s guest post for ComputerWeekly.com:

Young people thinking about what to do with their lives should seriously consider taking an apprenticeship, because there are some truly great opportunities. Although money should probably not be the main motivator, apprentices often earn substantially more than many university graduates, not to mention that they also learn while they earn.

Another key detail is that as a committed apprentice, you’re almost guaranteed a job at the end of your scheme, especially in technology related industries, where we see an ever-widening skills gap in the UK.

For some reason, apprenticeships are still often labelled as a choice for those who are “unable” to pursue a degree. However, what not many people know is that you can actually take your apprentice training up to degree level. 

Matthew’s advice, based on his personal experience is that you have to be open to the opportunities that an apprenticeship can offer. They provide excellent real-life work experience, help you earn while you learn, and even get you qualifications and/or training. So make the most of it! 


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, 6 March 2014

Firebrand pledges to place 200 IT Apprentices in UK businesses


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Hire young, eager and passionate talent into your business, while they gain 5 full weeks of Government-funded Firebrand training.

It’s National Apprenticeships Week 2014, to celebrate, Firebrand has pledged to place 200 IT Apprentices in UK businesses this year. To be part of this initiative, and gain all of the benefits below, pledge to hire an IT Apprentice in 2014.

Why hire an IT apprentice?

Our government-backed apprenticeships are officially approved by Microsoft, and provide:
  • Free Firebrand training and certification; including Microsoft, Cisco, CompTIA and HP qualifications - worth at least £10,000
  • You up to a 75% reduction in your employment costs
  • The potential for you to receive a £1,500 Government grant per apprentice, for up to 10 apprentices
  • The minimum apprentice wage is £2.68 an hour.

How to hire an IT Apprentice in 2014

We've screened and interviewed 1000s of 16-24 year-olds, ready to start their career in IT. You can find out more about how we help via the website.

Don't just tale our word for it, watch this video from the National Apprenticeship Service where employers share their experience of hiring an apprentice. Or you can check out some of our success stories so far.



So you can just choose your ideal apprentice from the shortlist. Make your pledge before the end of National Apprenticeships Week, and bring fresh talent into your business now. 


The benefits of hiring an apprentice


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As part of National Apprenticeship Week, Firebrand along with many employers has pledged to hire more apprentices into UK businesses.  In this article, we will answer frequently asked questions about the benefits, process and effects of hiring an apprentice into your business.

What is a Firebrand Apprenticeship?

A government-backed work-based IT training scheme for young people aged 16-24, that’s designed around your business' needs and results in a recognised IT qualification. The courses run for a year, and during the scheme Firebrand provides the apprentice with five weeks of intensive training, which is backed-up by on-going assessment while they’re at work.



What are the benefits of hiring an apprentice?

The benefits to your business are enormous. With an apprenticeship course, often all you pay is the apprentice's salary – around £150-200 a week and significantly less than a graduate starting salary. All the training costs are government-funded – saving you up to £15,000.

Our government-sponsored apprenticeships are officially approved by Microsoft, and provide:
  • Free Firebrand training and certification; including Microsoft, Cisco, CompTIA and HP qualifications - worth at least £10,000
  • Up to a 75% reduction in your employment costs
  • A potential £1,500 Government grant per apprentice, for up to 10 apprentices

By hiring an apprentice, you will also:
  • Benefit from increased enthusiasm and motivation within your team
  • Realise increased productivity, improved competitiveness and a competent workforce
  • Be able to fill skills gaps by developing the specialist skills required for your business

How to hire an apprentice

Taking on an apprentice is cheaper and easier than you think. We advertise for and pre-vet your apprentices; you just need to do interview them and choose the best one. It’s a four-step process:
  1. Contact our team and choose an IT course that’s most relevant to your business
  2. We recruit and pre-vet new apprentices, then it’s up to you to select the one that fits best with your business' needs
  3. Decide on a learning plan with your apprentice and Firebrand assessor
  4. Apprentice starts for induction week
Join the pledge

Employ an apprentice and bring fresh talent into your business now. Make your pledge before the end of National Apprenticeships Week! 

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. 

How to get an Apprenticeship in IT

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As we move towards the end of National Apprenticeship Week 2014, here at Firebrand we are working hard to answer questions from the many eager and capable youngsters currently expressing an interest in Firebrand's IT apprenticeships.

Having discovered the benefits of a career in IT and how an IT apprenticeship can help make that a reality, the next question on a would be apprentice's mind is often 'how do I get an apprenticeship in IT?' In the following post I will seek to give practical advice on how to achieve such a feat.


How to get an apprenticeship in IT

Whilst no single piece of advice equates to a silver bullet, if you follow these simple steps, you will find yourself on the path towards securing an apprenticeship. 

Finding an Apprenticeship

You've made a great start as Firebrand offer a range of IT apprenticeship programs. That a side, a key factor in securing an opportunity is first finding it. In September 2013, the National Apprenticeship service published figures highlighting 6,846 vacancies in IT, Software, Web and Telecoms Professional apprenticeships.


You can find a range of opportunities, including Firebrand's IT apprenticeships, on the following websites:


  • Apprenticeships Vacancy Matching Service - the National Apprenticeship Service's official website advertising thousands of vacancies.
  • Not Going to Uni - offering apprenticeship opportunities from more than 1000 training providers, Not Going to Uni currently advertise 461 IT apprenticeships. (correct as of 06/03/2013) 
  • reed.co.uk - the UK's #1 job site currently advertises 267 apprentice vacancies in the field of IT & Telecoms
Which type of Apprenticeship is right for you?

'IT Apprenticeship' is a rather broad term covering a wide variety of different programs. There are thousands of different careers in IT, focusing on multiple types of technology, with vastly different job roles and as such there are many types of apprenticeships available. Working out the which type is right for you is vital in focusing your application process. 

After all, you wouldn't want to take an apprenticeship that teaches you how to manage a server, when in fact you want to become an App developer. Our IT apprentice program currently offers 4 separate tracks:
  • IT Desktop Support - learn all about PC technology and functionality, operating systems, security and network management as well as server administration.
  • IT Solutions Developer - currently in huge demand, learn the skills necessary to become a developer including software, web, application and gaming development, alongside the basics of programming in C#.
  • Server and Database Associate- this apprenticeship will teach you how to install, maintain, support and monitor the latest versions of Microsoft Windows Server and SQL Server.
  • HP & Microsoft Advanced Apprenticeship - this specifically develops knowledge associated with both HP and Microsoft technology. Upon completion the apprentice could work in an array of careers including that of IT Support Technician, Systems Engineer, IT User Support, IT and Network Administrator or System Administrator.
Check back regularly with multiple programmes currently being developed.

Here's Microsoft's MD, Michael Van der Bel talking about why you should sign up with an apprenticship with Firebrand.



Tailor your CV

Prior to joining Firebrand, I spent the better part of 3 years in recruitment. As a recruiter, I would wade through 1000s of CVs every single day. Time was money, so making a decision on whether an applicant is suitable usually occurs in the first 15-20 seconds of reading a CV. We would look for relevant keywords associated with the job role the applicant had applied for. This included but was not limited to past experience and if relevant an associated certification or qualification.

Tailoring your CV to reflect the opportunity you are applying for is a powerful way of catching the readers attention. For example if your applying for Firebrand's IT Solutions Developer apprenticeship, you could use the following techniques.


  • Add a covering letter expressing your desire to attend the apprentice program.
  • The title of your CV could state "Curriculum Vitae for the IT Solutions Developer Apprenticeship"
  • Most CVs contain a brief candidate profile, use this as an opportunity to mention your desire to work as a developer. 
  • Demonstrate relevant qualifications. If you have a GCSE in Information Technology, or a beginners certificate in coding, make sure you highlight it. Maybe even put it in bold. Or even underline it too. (stands out, doesn't it)
  • Demonstrate relevant experience. Leaving school, it's unlikely you have held a career in IT, but that doesn't mean you can't demonstrate experience. Perhaps you've made your own website, or built a basic app? Linking to these in a CV is a fantastic way of demonstrating relevant experience and interest.

Get going and Good Luck 

So there you have it, some practical advice on how to get an apprenticeship in IT. I hope you find it useful. Please feel free to comment if you have any additional questions, or perhaps want to add your own advice based on your experience.

About the Author

As part of Firebrand's global marketing team, Edward actively works to serve the IT community with news, reviews and technical how to guides. Working in the Industry for almost 3 years years, Edward has a wide variety of experience with Microsoft Technologies including SharePoint and Windows Server and Exchange Server. Edward is an active member of the IT community contributing to a variety of tech publications including Microsoft TechNet, Channel Pro and PC Advisor among others.



Wednesday, 5 March 2014

National Apprenticeship Week - why do I want to do an IT apprenticeship?


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We are in the middle of the 7th National Apprenticeship Week and it has already attracted many eager and capable youngsters, who already discovered the answer to the big question: Why do I want to do an apprenticeship?




The answer may not be universal and equally applicable to all industries, but here’s why you want a career in IT:

  • Earn while you learn – There are currently around 100,000 open IT positions in the UK and that number is only expected to grow even further, unless the so-called “knowledge gap” is bridged. So why not complete an apprenticeship where you earn a good salary, while getting the experience that may help you secure a job in IT?
  • Top-notch training on top – Gaining real-life work experience is great, but getting professional training on top is even greater. As an IT apprentice with Firebrand you’ll work in the technology industry for a year and receive at least 5 weeks of training to add to your experience.
  • Boost your CV – Start your apprenticeship at the age of 16 and by the time you turn 18, you’ll have more experience to put on your CV than most university graduates. Not to mention that you’ll actually possess the technical knowledge and experience.
  • It’s a career catalyst – It’s not rare that apprentices are offered permanent positions by their employers. But even if it doesn’t happen to you, you’re still well ahead the curve when it comes to applying for a job.
  • Great variety - It is a common misconception that IT roles are only for the geeky tech savvy. The IT industry offers various career paths to choose from. You can learn how to code and build applications. You can learn to maintain and manage networks. But you can also learn how to protect your organisation from threats by becoming a IT security professional.

An IT apprenticeship can lead to a great job. These four young apprentices highlight the varied careers available within the IT industry and explain the importance of this sector:


To learn more about what you can get out of an apprenticeship, visit Firebrand Apprenticeships

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, 4 March 2014

My morning with the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg

By

On Wednesday 26 February 2014 at 14:39, I received an official invite to attend a speech hosted by the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg at Southfields AcademyThe speech would be followed by a 45 minute Q&A and then a careers fair attended by 500 students .




I had made it, it was now simply a matter of time before i'd be part of the inner circle, supping on tea and cakes at 10 Downing Street.  

In the real world (where i'm forced to live), I was there to listen to what the Deputy Prime Minister and his coalition government have planned to improve education, training and job opportunities for young people aged 16-24, ahead of National Apprenticeships Week


The killer question

As a provider of IT apprenticships, this was a fantastic opportunity for me to ask Mr Clegg a question that has been burning away at the heart of Firebrand's Apprenticeship programme. So let me frame the killer question for you:

The technology sector is currently expanding at a rapid pace, demand for skilled IT workers has outpaced supply. The EU now predict that by 2015 there will be a skills gap of 700,000 trained IT professionals. Youth unemployment stands at roughly 900,000, it looks like we have a situation to kill two birds with one stone (excuse the pun). Plug the growing IT skills gap allowing the UK economy to grow, and take a large step towards solving youth unemployment.

Unfortunately the existing national curriculum for Information Technology is simply not fit for purpose. School leavers aren't provided with the necessary skill set to enter into a specialist career in IT. IT Apprenticeships have been introduced as a fantastic solution to bridge the evident skills gap. 

Employers are matched with talented 16-24 year old school leavers, the apprentice receives training funded by the government, on the job experience and mentoring. At the end of the programme, employers have a skilled worker to fill their vacancy, and the apprentice is now on the ladder to a well paid career. 

Problem solved? Not quite, despite the growing availability of IT apprenticeships, and the opportunity for a well paid, life long career in IT, vacancies continue to receive a lack of applications. 

So here comes the killer question....

What is the government going to do to get kids interested in IT apprenticeships?


An answer to my question?

So there I find myself, a stones throw from the Deputy Prime Minister (not that I intended to throw stones, personally I like the man) currently laying out the plan for 16-24 year olds.



During the speech Mr Clegg outlined 3 key initiatives:
  1. Schools will be tasked with providing better careers advice to students, whilst working to build relationships with local employers to give greater work experience opportunities. This is to be enforced by OFSTED, who have already highlighted that 80% of schools fail to give detailed and sufficient careers support.
  2. A UCAS style website is to be created, providing 16-24 year olds with as much information as possible on existing apprenticeship, traineeship and college programs. 
  3. Trials will soon begin at selected Jobcentre Plus locations, where 16-17 year olds will be given detailed advice from a dedicated Careers Advisors.
Unfortunately during the Q&A session I never got to ask my killer question. But upon reflection, it turns out Mr Clegg had already given me an answer during his speech. 


It's all about education

16-24 year olds need to be educated about the employment opportunities available to them. This has to start long before they leave school, at present your average 16-24 year old isn't aware that they can earn £60,000-£70,000 working in the IT sector. They don't know about all of the exciting careers where they can design and build applications, websites and games. And they are a million miles away from learning about the inner workings of a PC or how to code. 

They often have a stereotype built up in there heads that IT is only for "geeks" , when the reality is far different. It's really is up to schools and Apprentice providers like Firebrand to show them what IT is really all about.


Playing my part

Before I knew what was happening, Mr Clegg was gone and I found myself at Firebrand's stand in the careers fair. Joined by a fantastic Firebrand apprentice, Tom Davies who works for Adatis as a Junior Business Intelligence Consultant, we spent the next hour talking to Southfields Academy students about Firebrand IT Apprenticeships. 

The school itself is well respected for its provision of Careers Advice, and the kids showed genuine enthusiasm as they bustled about the stands. It was amazing to see how their attitudes shift once they find out about all of the careers available to them in IT, Flyers were snapped up, animated conversations were had, and all in all it was a fantastic event. I was surprised at how many kids expressed an interest to learn code, all with quickly imagined dreams of creating apps, making £ millions and retiring at the grand old age of 21 in some mansion in the South of France.

So there we have it, that was my morning with Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg.

About the Author

As part of Firebrand's global marketing team, Edward actively works to serve the IT community with news, reviews and technical how to guides. Working in the Industry for almost 3 years years, Edward has a wide variety of experience with Microsoft Technologies including SharePoint and Windows Server and Exchange Server. Edward is an active member of the IT community contributing to a variety of tech publications including Microsoft TechNet, Channel Pro and PC Advisor among others.