Showing posts with label Apprentice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Apprentice. Show all posts

Friday, 11 July 2014

9 Firebrand Apprentices achieve a staggering 76 certifications in just 5 weeks


Last week we said goodbye to yet another fantastic group of young apprentices. After spending five weeks of intense training with us over the past year, the group’s prospects are looking brighter than ever. They are now well on their way to a career in IT.

From left to right - Iman Attia, Fraser Price, Lewis Graham, Billy Raymond Rowan Farmer, Gary Fildes (Instructor), Lamar Brownbill, Jack Lugar, Alex Buckland and Jacob Noble. 
As a result of their Firebrand Apprenticeship, the group of 9, known affectionately as DESK0913, achieved a staggering number of industry certifications. The industry recognised certs are definitive measures of their technical aptitude and identify the group as driven, smart and ultimately extremely employable.

Altogether, the 9 students attained the following:

36 MTA’s
18 CompTIA Strata’s
4 CompTIA A+
5 CompTIA Network+
5 CompTIA Security+
5 MCTS Windows 7 070-680 (FULL MCP)

The brilliant achievement includes 73 exam passes of technical certifications, 7 ICT functional Skills, 18 City and Guilds exam passes – that’s another apprenticeship cohort with 100 exam passes.

These are all official industry recognised certifications requiring diligent studying and the completion of tough exams. As anybody who has experienced Firebrand’s accelerated training will attest to – achieving these qualifications is no easy feat.

And it gets even more impressive. These qualifications were all achieved by our apprentices during a year of full-time work. The group gained invaluable real-world experience with their employers and we expect them to remain employed even after completing their apprenticeship - a near-perfect 99% of them do.

If you’re looking for a career in IT, you can get industry recognised certifications and earn cash whilst in a proper job. Check now to see if you’re eligible to become a Firebrand Apprentice. Alternatively, if you want a talented and driven young person within your organisation, see the additional benefits of hiring a Firebrand Apprentice on our site.

It’s a great effort all round – congratulations and good luck to Iman, Fraser, Lewis, Billy, Rowan, Lamar, Jack, Alex and Jacob!

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, 24 June 2014

Firebrand shines bright at Microsoft Apprentice of the Year awards


Firebrand Apprentice Kimberley Bolton was honoured last night alongside Firebrand Apprentice employers Hitachi and Pythagoras at the Microsoft Apprentice of the Year awards.

Kimberley, 19 from Maidenhead, was crowned Microsoft Apprentice of the Year (Medium Business Category) after beating hundreds of nominees to claim the title. Working as a Junior Support Consultant for Pythagoras, she spoke to Firebrand after winning her award and said: 

“ Becoming an IT apprentice is the best thing I’ve ever done. I’ve gone from having no confidence and no IT knowledge to winning Microsoft Apprentice of the Year. I’ve really had to push myself, and now it’s all paid off. ”

Reflecting on Kimberley winning the award, her Supervisor Richard Francis said:

“ We’re very happy for Kimberley, but it was all down to her. She joined Pythagoras with the right attitude and that is what has led to her winning this brilliant award 

The event was hosted at the House of Commons with Home Secretary, Theresa May and Microsoft UK Managing Director, Michel Van der Bel, presenting the awards. While passing on her congratulations to both Kimberley and Firebrand, the Home Secretary said:

“ 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. 

Two Firebrand Apprentice employers, Hitachi and Pythagoras were also honoured at the awards. Pythagoras, after picking up Apprentice of the Year, were highly commended in the Medium Apprentice Employer of the Year category, while Hitachi were highly commended in the Large Apprentice Employer of the Year category.

The awards recognise the growing success of the Firebrand Apprenticeship program. Since launching in 2012, Firebrand has now helped more than 100 young people pursue a career in IT through its Apprenticeship program.

To enquire about hiring an IT Apprentice or becoming one yourself head to -

For more information contact: 

Ed Jones

T: +44 (0) 844 888 1684
E: ejones [at] firebrandtraining [dot] co [dot] uk

About Firebrand Training 

Firebrand is a leader in Accelerated Learning, and has training centres in the UK, DACH (Germany, Switzerland, Austria), Nordics (Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland) and Benelux (Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg).  

Since its inception in 2001 the company has grown at an incredible rate with over £100 million training completed by more than 35,000 students with over 96% of our students reporting that Firebrand exceeded their expectations.

Firebrand Training runs more than 165 courses, from Microsoft Windows, Windows Server and IT support courses, through to Cisco, Oracle, Lean Six Sigma, PRINCE2, PMP, ethical hacking and Agile.
Firebrand Training has been named consecutively for four years running in the Top 20 IT Training Companies in the World by and has won the Institute of IT Training – Training Company Of The Year for three consecutive years. It is a Microsoft, Cisco and PMI partner, and Firebrand Training Nordics is Microsoft Learning Partner of the Year (2010, 2011 and 2012) and is the first Microsoft partner business to achieve this award three years in a row.

Friday, 6 June 2014

More than 100 young people chose Firebrand Apprenticeships


This week, Firebrand reached a great milestone in its apprenticeship scheme. As of today, 101 young people have decided to start pursuing a career in IT by joining Firebrand Apprenticeships.

As we have mentioned previously, the demand for new staff in the UK IT sector is over 150,000 people per year, according to Council of Professors and Heads of Computing. However, there’s still an annual shortfall of over 40,000 professionals.
Considering these ever-increasing number of unfilled jobs in IT, we are delighted to see that more and more youngsters are eager to learn practical skills that can kick-start their careers.

Firebrand Apprenticeships until now

The programme started in July 2012, and up until the end of last year, three cohorts (totalling 24 apprentices) completed their 12-month long scheme. Thanks to the increasing government support and events such as The Skills Show and National Apprenticeships Weeks, apprenticeship schemes, including Firebrand Apprenticeships, have started to receive greater exposure and therefore more interest from young people.

Since December 2013, the numbers of our committed apprentices have more than trebled, resulting in the reaching and passing of the #100 milestone.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg with Apprentice Assessor Charlotte Preece at The Skills Show 2013

Great moments and success stories

Since its beginning, Firebrand’s Apprenticeship scheme has seen some exceptionally devoted and hard-working young people.  We are truly spoilt for choice when it comes to picking Firebrand apprentices, who have had an outstanding performance during their time in the programme, but we’ll give it a go:

- Ben Sykes, one of our first apprentices passed his MTA Networking Fundamentals exam scoring 100% and got nominated for the Microsoft Apprentice of the Year award.

- Members of the very first IT Desktop Support cohort have all obtained the following certifications:
  • Level 3 Certificate in ICT Systems & Principles
  • Level 3 Diploma in ICT Professional Competence
  • MTA (Microsoft Technical Associate) Server Administration Fundamentals
  • MTA Networking Fundamentals
  • MTA Database Administration Fundamentals
- Ryan ‘Jim’ Curtis was the first Firebrand Apprentice to achieve the CompTIA A+, Network+ and Security+ certifications.

Why employers and young people should choose Firebrand Apprenticeships

The following story is written by apprentice mentor and instructor Gary Fildes, about the largest and most successful cohort of Firebrand Apprenticeships:

Meet our latest finishing cohort (IT Desktop Support), who on Friday completed their five week training allocation.  Over this period in the centre they have put in hours beyond the scope of the apprenticeship guidelines and professional delegates with some starting at 06:00 and finishing at 03:00 to revise for some challenging exams for their age group, whilst completing written apprenticeship assignments. 

This is what this cohort has achieved in those five weeks of training at Firebrand:
  • 14 CompTIA Strata
  • 52 MTA’s – Operating System, Networking, Security and Server Fundamentals
  • 12 CompTIA A+  *Extracurricular*
  • 11 CompTIA Network +  *Extracurricular*
  • 10 CompTIA Security +  *Extracurricular*

In addition, Jamila Telliam is the first Firebrand Apprentice to achieve the MCP: 070-680 Windows 7 Professional certification as well as all the above.

That’s 100 professional certifications that this group has achieved, which is absolutely exceptional.

So why is Firebrand’s Apprenticeship scheme the obvious choice?
  • University: Four years of your life resulting in over £40k debt and you’ll have to find a job with no technical qualifications or hand-on experience.

  • Firebrand apprenticeship program: ZERO debt, great technical qualifications and hand-on experience with an employer

Over 70% of our apprentices strongly agreed that their time with Firebrand was essential in starting their careers in IT and 80% said they'd recommend Firebrand Apprenticeships to a friend. But enough of the numbers, let's see what they really said:
  • “My apprenticeship with Firebrand has been a fantastic experience, it has taught me so much and really opened up the doors to my career in IT. Personally it was a much better option for me that the traditional Uni route and I would recommend it to anyone!”
  •  “When I first started the Firebrand apprenticeship, I wasn’t expecting the apprenticeship to be so outstanding! I loved every aspect of the apprenticeship:  going to a new place, meeting new people, the accommodation, the way everything was taught and gaining even more qualifications to use in the future. Within the time of the apprenticeship, I have gained a huge amount of qualifications that would take some people years to achieve/to work towards. I am very proud of what I have achieved through Firebrand.”
  • Firebrand apprenticeships have offered me everything I need and more to begin my career in IT. The facilities and resources are great, but what sets firebrand apart from the rest is the staff. At Firebrand they go above and beyond to help you, couldn’t ask for a better bunch of people!”
Are you leaving school and looking for a challenging career? Or do you know any 16-24 year-olds passionate about technology? Visit Firebrand Apprenticeships and get more information about the programmes we offer. 

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

National Apprenticeship Week – more than 20,000 apprenticeships created


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. 

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Great Apprenticeships – thoughts to consider


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 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. 

Friday, 7 March 2014

Open your eyes to apprentice opportunities


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

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

The benefits of hiring an apprentice


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


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) 
  • - 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?


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. 

Monday, 3 March 2014

Hour of Code launch event with Microsoft at Westminster City School


I was lucky enough to have been invited by Avid Larizadeh to attend this morning's launch event at Westminster City School supported by Microsoft. 

Here's Avid talking about why Hour of Code is so important.

I also got the chance to speak to Microsoft's UK MD Michel Van der Bel about why he thought it was important Microsoft should support Hour of Code.

About the Author:
Robert Chapman is CEO and co-founder of Firebrand Training. He has had a varied career covering hardware, software, services, from a management, sales and technical perspective.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Apprenticeship over university – the practical experience


Up until recently, most school leavers were all psyched about university applications to get a degree that could kick-start their working lives. The idea was to get the best academic experience possible at a seemingly good price. However, with the increased university fees fewer teens are even considering the idea of pursuing a degree. 

Learn and get paid

Nowadays, more and more organisations have staff members who aren't even old enough to drive, yet they do their jobs so well, that most university graduates could learn from them. Fortunately, more and more teenagers start to grasp the idea of how practical work experience could benefit them more than a degree and thus the numbers of apprentices are slowly starting to increase. 

After finishing school, some youngsters would rather head straight into work, to gain practical knowledge and skills than spend three more years in education. Last year, the number of applicants increased by 27% and it's been increasing ever since. In 2013 over 130,000 vacancies were posted online and they generated more than 1.4 million applications, an increase of just over a third from 2012. Jaine Bolton, director of the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS), said: "These figures show that the demand for apprenticeships keeps growing. It is the first choice for many talented young people and more employers wanting young talent need to wake up to this fact."

Better employment prospects with apprenticeship experience

Recent surveys showed that young people with work experience have a much better chance of getting a job than university graduates, because practical knowledge tends to outweigh that "piece of paper". Education and Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said: "We've got a lot in the pipeline to make apprenticeships even better and more accessible."

At the end of 2013 the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) Chief John Cridland called for that apprenticeships were to be given an equal status to as degrees. He said: “We need to widen the gateways into higher-skilled work for far more people, including those already working, or those for whom a degree may not be the best option.”

Why apprenticeships are better

People would say that apprenticeships are better for young people and more fulfilling than university because part-takers get real-life work experience. Although university has its own perks, such as theoretical knowledge, being an apprentice is something different. Apprentices learn along the way and gain skills that are required for other jobs, and therefore have the edge over those peers, who spent years learning concepts and theories, without actually practicing them. 
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 February 2014

Why children should learn to code


First of all what is code? According to the definition by Year of Code: “code is the language we use to instruct computers.”

We are living in a software-dominated world. Telephone calls go over software-controlled networks; television is delivered over the internet; people don’t buy maps anymore, they use the web; and we all shop online.

The next generation’s world will be even more online and digital. Soon, houses will be controlled with software, some medical care will be delivered over the web and even cars may drive themselves. To succeed in such a world, children must learn the basis of computational thinking.

Software is the new world language

Because software is becoming so critical and omnipresent in our lives, we have familiarise ourselves with it. Of course not every job in the future will involve programming, but it is still essential that children learn how to master computational thinking.

Computational thinking combines mathematics, logic and algorithms, and teaches you how to tackle large problems by breaking them down into a sequence of smaller, more manageable problems. But the benefits of this approach reach much further than just knowing how to code. Computational thinking is everywhere, including physics, music, engineering or medicine. It’s a skill that everyone should learn, because you’ll benefit from it, no matter what you end up working as.

In September 2014 coding will be introduced to the school timetable for every child aged 5-16 years old, making the UK the first major G20 economy in the world to implement this on a national level. This is a landmark policy change that will arm a generation of school-leavers with the skills for the 21st century.

For more information read the full article on why everychild should learn to code.

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 February 2014

Now is the time to be an IT apprentice


IT apprenticeships give young people the chance to earn while they learn in a real job; gaining technical skills and qualifications, as well as work experience. Considering the amount of career opportunities in the technology sector, it’s safe to say: there’s never been a better time to be an IT apprentice.

According to the Office for National Statistics, tens of thousands of university graduates are earning less than school leavers taking apprenticeships. Not to mention that more than a quarter of them now work in part-time roles, as opposed to a mere 11% of apprenticeships leavers.

Technology offers great opportunities

Technology is an area where committed and passionate apprentices can thrive to benefit both themselves and their employers. The career opportunities and salaries are ever-growing, but so is the knowledge gap, therefore thousands of roles remain unfilled each year.

However apprenticeships help to bridge that gap, giving young people a chance to build their confidence, prove their competencies and develop a broader skill-set, whilst earning a salary.

The benefits for employers

Young people have ample untapped talent, and businesses are increasingly beginning to realise this. Taking on an apprentice can be an extremely beneficial business decision. Not only do organisations have the support of a training provider, such as Firebrand that can work with them to ensure that apprentices are developing the right skills for a career in business, but they are also able to develop and nurture their skills in a direction completely suited to the company.

Besides these benefits, companies are also able reduce their employment costs by up to 75%, get a return on their investment in less than six months and potentially qualify for a £1,500 Government grant per apprentice (for up to 10 apprentices).

The benefits for apprentices

Technology is one of the lines of industry that hasn’t stopped flourishing during the economic crisis, with all signs pointing towards continued growth. Technology transforms businesses. Technology fundamentally changes the way that people do business and it is constantly evolving. If you can play a part in that you’ll develop skills that can underpin your entire career.

Because technology never stops changing, it offers varied roles and that makes your job a lot more challenging and interesting. There is a misconception that to work in technology you have to be a traditional ‘techie’ and need to be a fan of software development.
This is not always the case, the options are numerous and IT offers a lot more than just computing.

Watch the following testimonial by Tom, who took part in the Firebrand Apprenticeship scheme:

To learn more about apprenticeship opportunities, 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, 3 December 2013

100,000s of IT roles unfilled by 2015 - how can we get kids interested in them?


Astronaut, police officer, TV personality, singer, doctor. These are just a few standard answers to the question, that every single person on Earth has been asked when they were little: what do you want to be when you grow up?

Educating children about career opportunities is never too early, yet very few people do it. The IT industry offers 100,000s of roles, which guarantee variety, great earning potential and most importantly a job for life. Yet, according to the European Commission, "there will be a deficit of over 900,000 trained IT staff in Europe by 2015" which will increase even further if children and young adults don't get into IT.

How would you get your kids interested in pursuing a life-long career in IT?  

We rarely think about this, but...

Has anyone ever heard a child wanting to become a software developer for instance? Unlikely. (Okay, maybe Thomas Suarez.) But why is that? Kids love playing games and goofing around with fascinating apps on gadgets. Imagine how cool it’d be if they could create their own games. Not to mention, they’d be learning skills that would stand them in good stead for a high-earning career in IT.

The number of app developer courses and job opportunities are almost beyond imagination, yet interest is still relatively little. There are literally thousands of great IT apprenticeship opportunities for kids in the UK, many of which remain unfilled each year.

It's a win-win, if we do it right

It is obvious that we have to inspire and motivate more youngsters to pursue a career in IT, because it's for everyone's benefit. It'll benefit them, because they'll have challenging, well-paid jobs. It'll benefit technological development, because more committed and bright minds will be contributing to it. 

And most importantly, it'll benefit the economy. By meeting the growing demand for qualified workers, the UK IT industry can continue to expand, delivering billions of pounds in future revenue.

How do we make it happen?

Will the new national curriculum encourage more youngsters to get into coding? Will roles in Big Data, cloud computing or IT security one day be more popular than singing contests, media studies or acting? If so, parents, teachers and organisations should all participate to make it happen.

How would you encourage your children to take on the 1,000s of opportunities in IT? What would be your way to make them interested? Share your thoughts with us in comments or tweets @BeAFirebrand using #getkidsintoIT

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, 18 November 2013

UK needs IT apprentices. Right now


According to the estimations of the CPHC, the demand for new staff in the UK IT sector is between 150,000 and 180,000 people per year, yet there’s still an annual shortfall of around 40,000 skilled professionals. What's more, the European Commission states there will be 900,000 unfilled IT jobs across the EU in 2015. 

The opportunities are vast, career paths and jobs are varied, challenging and well-paying, yet there are still not enough young people pursuing a career in IT. What can be the reason for this rather paradoxical situation? It’s what they call the IT skills gap.

As written very accurately by “We have a bold ambition for the UK to be a leading information economy; however getting there will be a task not just for the Government and its central policies, but one for the industry.” But what can the industry do to help the process? It’s a no-brainer: hire apprentices.

Attracting school leavers and other talented youngsters and persuading them to pursue a career in IT isn’t always easy, but more and more companies are recognising the value of apprentice schemes and hire hundreds of apprentices each year.

The Skills Show

The UK’s largest skills and careers event took place last week at the NEC Birmingham. Firebrand co-exhibited with Microsoft and BAFTA to answer the questions of aspiring apprentices and teach them how to code their own games.

The stand of BAFTA, Firebrand and Microsoft at The Skills Show 2013

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who also attended The Skills Show, said:

"We need to get beyond this rather fusty, old-fashioned view that the only good thing for a young person to do after school or a college education is to take an academic qualification.

There are lots of really, really bright youngsters who will provide the economic backbone of this country for decades to come who just don't want to have their nose stuck in a book for three years.

They are people who actually want to get their hands dirty, literally and metaphorically. They want to learn while they earn."

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg with Apprentice Assessor Charlotte Preece while visiting the Firebrand stand

Mr Clegg said he had met motivated and committed young people during his visit. He also added that he’d be happy to see his children choose an apprenticeship over a degree. 

About the Author:       
Peter 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.