Showing posts with label A-level. Show all posts
Showing posts with label A-level. Show all posts

Thursday, 13 August 2015

So you messed up - turn your A-Level results failure into a career opportunity

Haven’t got the A-level results you needed? Don’t worry, this is your opportunity to accelerate your education pathway into a lifelong career in IT.


University is not the only route to your chosen career. IT apprenticeships offer an alternative pathway which will help you leap frog your peers as they trundle off to do a three year degree.

So if you didn't get the A-level results you needed, don't bother with UCAS clearing. Find out why failing your a-levels and choosing a Firebrand IT apprenticeship is the best thing that could have happened to you.

Earn while you learn

During your IT apprenticeship you’ll be paid a starting salary up to £18,000. Upon completing your apprenticeship, starting salaries are typically around £20,000 – with a salary rise of around £3500 a year after that.

Apprenticeships are 33% faster than University degrees

Whilst a typical University degree runs over three years, your Firebrand Apprenticeship runs for two years. You’ll get the skills and qualifications you need 33% faster than your peers.

Plus, with 99% of Firebrand Apprentices ending up in full-time employment following their apprenticeship, you’ll be 3 years into your career by the time your peers are finishing University  looking for their first job. Best of all, no student debt!

Get a real job

You are not just on a training course. This is a real job, with real a business. You will learn business critical skills, and gain years’ worth of real work experience. Did I mention we find the job for you?

No need to trawl through job boards of the local papers. Just give us your details and we’ll match you to an IT job near you.

Avoid £27,000 worth of student debt

While your peers are off racking up £1000s worth of university debt, you’ll working in your chosen career, earning a wage and developing skills that will form the foundation of a successful future.

Earn industry recognised qualifications and get up to £27,000 worth of training

Firebrand Apprenticeships are aligned to the requirements of the IT industry. You’ll train and earn industry recognised qualifications that are in demand by businesses throughout Europe.

Plus, apprenticeships are funded by the Government and your employer. This means you could get up to £27,000 worth of training for free.

Interested? Head over to our website and Apply Now

Thursday, 21 August 2014

The tech that gets you (A-level) results


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Thursday 14th August marked the day students across the country received their A-level results. But it wasn’t just stressful for the students - take a moment to appreciate the titanic task of UCAS’ IT team working behind the scenes.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (known to us as UCAS) is responsible for managing all university and college applications. It processes over 650,000 applications a year with the service peaking massively in mid-August.

And this time last week, UCAS sprang into action for what was undoubtedly one formidable working day.

Comprised of about 20 people, UCAS’ Joint Operations Centre (JOC) features the organisation’s IT director, systems operations staff, architects and workers from suppliers such as Amazon, Microsoft and Oracle.

The JOC works with operational intelligence provided by machine data indexer, Splunk. Following a migration to the cloud, UCAS has been using Splunk to monitor its IT infrastructure (the migration actually won a Computer Weekly User Award).

Before the introduction of this cutting-edge tech, UCAS was faced with the monumental challenge of searching and visualising a massive volume of machine-generated data. Now, with the introduction of Splunk, UCAS can troubleshoot, manage performance and use analytics to support the IT team.

'Artists' intepretation
Image courtesy of Grafixar/morgueFile

Ensuring an uninhibited service is paramount. No more so than during Thursday’s ultra-peak time, where thousands of students will be simultaneously accessing information through UCAS’ Track portal.

Splunk Enterprise is deployed across 40 servers and about 70 log sources, which are in turn deployed through Amazon Web Services. By indexing, searching, alerting and reporting on data from across UCAS’ entire infrastructure, Splunk provides the JOC with a series of visualisations of their performance, key operational metrics and the queries they are running.

Keeping the system operational is a considerable challenge – last year saw the Track system, hosted on the Microsoft Azure cloud service, dealing with more than 180 logins per second.

The operation is based in Cheltenham, where 10 gigantic screens monitor the entire system. Two of these screens are devoted to Splunk which in turn has 10 dashboards created through queries in the software. Some dashboards are devoted to tracking the response time on an applicant enquiry whilst others display response time over a 24-hour period.

Like the phoenix, ‘UCAS lives and dies on one day a year,’ states Peter Raymond, Enterprise IT Architect at UCAS.

Chances are, it’s wasn’t just students experiencing sleepless nights last week.  

About the Author:       
Alex 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.  

Thursday, 14 August 2014

A-level results day - Life doesn’t end if you don’t go to university


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Thousands of students across the country are now experiencing the dramatic highs and lows of A-level results. Right now, it might be hard to see past university, but it’s not your only option and there are other paths to pursue your career.
An apprenticeship shouldn’t be thought of as something you do just because you’re not going to university. It’s not a glorified internship; it’s a real job where you get real training and experience that will give you a solid advantage in the job market.
They are already an incredibly popular and viable alternative to university. More than a third of A-level students in London currently opening their results are considering an apprenticeship instead of university, a poll by British Gas found.
Also, 15% said they would be more likely to get a higher paid job if they secured an apprenticeship instead of a university degree.

As this survey shows, school leavers are rightly considering an apprenticeship as a serious option when deciding their future. With over 1.8 million starts since 2010, and our reforms to improve their rigour and quality, apprenticeships are now a respected and rewarding route in to the world of work.’ states Skills Minister Nick Boles.

If you live in England, are 16 or older, and not in full-time education, you can apply to be an apprentice. The more you know about, the better your decision will be. Just consider this:

You’ll be earning money, not losing it

Those who start university this year could get stuck with more than £44,000 of debt by the time they graduate in 2017.
What’s more, researchers predict that the majority of university students will still be paying back their loan well into their fifties.
Getting stuck with a debt that could follow you into middle age isn’t a rite of passage. It’s not necessary to invest so to pursue your chosen career.
The phrase ‘earn while you learn’ has become a buzzword but it really does hold true for Apprenticeships. Get employed within a company and you’ll be a valued member of staff.
Get paid on average £170 per week and start earning the day you start. Plus, you won’t need to pay those much hated tuition fees. In fact, as your skills develop, your pay will increase accordingly.

Practical, hands-on and relevant

By working alongside experienced industry professionals, you’ll pick up first-hand job and workplace skills that just can’t be taught at university. Employers across the country value Apprenticeships because it proves you can work effectively within a professional environment.
Throughout my career, some of my best hires have been people who have bypassed the traditional route of university and learned their skills through apprenticeship schemes or alternative education courses.’ Peter Jones, Dragons Den entrepreneur, The Guardian, July 2012
And it’s not just first-hand experience that will showcase your skills – you’ll be able to back it up with industry recognised qualifications and training worth up to £10,000.

Stay Employed

The vast majority of university students have to search for a job once they graduate. But, a recent survey shows that 83% of apprentices still work for their employer a year after their course finishes. Plus, 42% had even received a promotion after completing their apprenticeship.
Susan Hooper, Managing director at British Gas explains how – ‘Just last year we recruited 900 young people…you could call this the age of the apprenticeship.’
 She also stressed the job prospects that come with apprenticeships. ‘Many of our apprentices have long careers with the company, often moving into management positions.’

Not to be overlooked

It really is the age of the apprenticeship and you would be doing yourself a disservice to overlook them. Just like university, an apprenticeship is a brilliant route into your chosen career – only it’s 3 years quicker and £44,000 cheaper



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, 5 August 2014

The “IT is for geeks” stereotype is damaging the UK economy


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A decline in students taking GCSE and A-level computing, coupled with a booming technology sector, could stunt growth and damage the UK’s economy through an ever-widening skills gap.

The common misconception that “IT is for geeks” is stopping many pupils from pursuing a career within the digital industries, a report published last week by the UK Digital Skills Taskforce found.

The taskforce, announced by Ed Miliband in November last year, was set up to help close the IT skills gap found in the British workforce.

A 2013 report from 02 stated that around 745,000 additional workers with digital skills would be needed to meet demand between now and 2017.

The report - ‘Digital Skills for Tomorrow’s World’ – suggests that this massive IT skills gap is due to misconceptions of the digital workplace.


The perception that technology roles are for “geeks” is extremely damaging, the report found.

A new computing curriculum is set to be introduced September 2014, which will go a long way in addressing the issue, but the report warns that teachers need more support to help them prepare.

In addition to more funding for the new curriculum, the report calls for computing to become a fourth ‘core science,’ which would give pupils access to digital training up to 19 years of age.

The ultimate aim is to eliminate the UK’s IT skills gap. However, simply adjusting the curriculum for modern tech requirements isn’t enough; pupils need to be supported after secondary school by being made aware of the options available to them.

With 98% of all universities now charging the max tuition fees of £9000 a year, hundreds of students are now unable to pursue this form of higher education. And without a clear route to a career in IT, many pupils can be left feeling adrift.

IT Apprenticeships have made a huge difference in helping to solve this issue by providing an entry-point to a career in IT.   As well as helping to lessen the UK’s crippling digital skills gap, apprenticeships provide young people with their first opportunity to grow and learn within a real workplace.

There is tremendous support for IT apprenticeships from both government and commercial organisations. The Microsoft’s Apprentice of the Year awards, held this year at the House of Commons, helped highlight the difference these schemes can make to young people and the businesses they work for. One Firebrand Apprentice even claimed a prestigious Microsoft Apprentice of the Year award.


During the awards, Theresa May described how - “Apprenticeships are incredibly important in helping young adults to develop skills in the workplace. Apprenticeships are hands-on and so much more about understanding what the working environment is all about. 

An IT apprenticeship is a great alternative to university and a tremendous advantage for businesses in need of talented young employees. Apprenticeships allow students to earn-while-they-learn, avoid student debt and get certifications backed up with real work experience in a career they are interested in.

If you’re looking for a career in IT or want to learn more about Firebrand’s unique apprenticeship program, visit us 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.