Showing posts with label Apprenticeships. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Apprenticeships. Show all posts

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

A Look at the Cyber Security Apprenticeships

Guest Author: Annabelle Harris

UK Government and businesses are consistently at threat from cyber attack. It is now estimated that the UK has spent approximately £18-27 billion pounds in defending against these type of attacks. With an ever increasing threat, the number of skilled  IT security professionals required is not developing fast enough, creating a large and growing cyber-security ‘skills gap’.

In a bid to closed the gap, the Government has introduced new cyber security apprenticeship standards. Paired with significant financial backing, the aim is to increase the number of cyber experts as effective security aids to protect against a data breach’s far-reaching effects. 


The two new apprenticeships are titled - Cyber Intrusion Analyst and Cyber Security Technologist. In this post we will take a closer look at the two. The skills they teach and the funding available.


Cyber Intrusion Analyst:


An apprentice that has taken the role of Cyber Intrusion Analyst will learn how to detect breaches in network security for escalation to incident response or other determined function.

A Cyber Intrusion Analyst will benefit from a range of automated tools to monitor networks in real time. They’ll interpret and understand the alerts that are automatically generated by those tools, including integrating and correlating information from a variety of sources and in different forms and, where necessary, seek additional information to inform the Analyst’s judgement on whether or not the alert represents a security breach.

The apprentice will often be part of, or lead, a team when working. They will also be required to cooperate with external stakeholders

With a Cyber Intrusion Analyst apprenticeship you will develop the skills to work in a range of different job roles including:

Secure Operations Centre (SOC) Analyst, Intrusion Analyst, Network Intrusion Analyst, Incident Response Centre (IRC) Analyst and Network Operations Centre (NOC) Security Analyst.

This apprenticeship is ranked a Level 4 apprenticeship and its duration is typically 24 months.

For this apprenticeship, the maximum contribution of government is £18,000 , where the contribution of the said business is £9,000.

This particular apprenticeship is also eligible for additional incentive payments including:

  • 16 – 18 year olds: £5,400 
  • Businesses with less than 50 employees: £2,700 
  • Successful completion: £2,700 


Cyber Security Technologist:


An apprentice that has taken on the role of Cyber Security Technologist will learn how to apply an understanding of cyber threats, hazards, risks, controls, measures and also mitigations to be able to protect organisations systems and people.

The apprentice will work in a selection of areas as well as security design and architecture, operations, risk, governance and compliance, security testing, investigations & response. Their goal is to accomplish required security results in a legal and monitored framework in all areas of the economy. As well as that, they will develop and apply a practical understanding of information security to provide solutions that fulfil an organizations requirements.

A Cyber Security Technologist apprenticeship can open doors to many job roles such as: Cyber Operations Manager, Security Architect, Penetration Tester, Security Analyst, Risk Analyst, Intelligence Researcher, Security Sales Engineer, Cyber Security Specialist, Information Security Analyst, Governance & Compliance Analyst, Information Security Assurance & Threat Analyst, Forensics & Incident Response Analyst, Security Engineer, Information Security Auditor, Security Administrator, Information Security Office.


Just like the Cyber Intrusion Analysts apprenticeship, this apprenticeship is ranked a Level 4 apprenticeship and its duration is typically 24 months.

For this apprenticeship, the maximum contribution of government is £18,000 , where the contribution of the said business is £9,000.

This particular apprenticeship also attracts the following encouragement payments for the employers:

  • 16 – 18 year olds: £5,400 
  • Businesses with less than 50 employees: £2,700 
  • Successful completion: £2,700 



Thursday, 14 April 2016

5 ways the UK Government is rewarding Firebrand IT apprentice employers

 By Sarah Morgan

With apprenticeship starts making up 22% of the total number of people starting higher education in 2015, the UK Government is accelerating its Apprenticeships reforms in England. Substantial changes in legislation have already been made as part of a wider plan to make apprenticeships more accessible for employers, students and the industry.

Not only are current employers enjoying the financial and practical benefits of hiring an IT apprentice, they’re also taking advantage of the rewards offered by the UK government by doing so. Here’s how employers are benefitting from hiring IT apprentices – and how you could too...

1. Access brand new Trailblazer Apprenticeship programmes

The Trailblazer Initiative has given employers in the IT industry the power to design brand new apprenticeship standards. These standards have been specifically designed by major players and SMEs in the IT sector - so we know that our IT apprentices get certified with the right skills for their employer.

The IT Trailblazer group is constantly developing new standards to bring to the industry, meaning employers and their apprentices know their training programme is right for them. To see a full list of Firebrand programmes, head to our programmes page.

2. Pay nothing on National Insurance

The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills has scrapped all Employer National Insurance contributions for apprentices under the age of 25. This means that as of April 2016, it’s now even better value for you to hire IT apprentices as a way of bringing new skills to your business.

3. Access the £2.5 billion apprenticeships budget

The UK government has put aside over £2.5 billion towards training apprentices until 2020, according to FE Week. From April 2017, employers who pay more than £3 million in wage bills (less than 2% of businesses) will pay a 0.5% payroll levy to fund apprenticeships in England. Unclaimed funds from contributing employers of the Apprenticeship Levy will be used to support apprenticeships at 5.3 million employers, providing the financial means to upskill and develop their staff with apprenticeships.

4. Get paid to hire IT apprentices

Trailblazer Apprenticeship employers receive up to £10,800 in cash incentives from the government. How much money you receive depends on a few factors, including the size of your business and the age of your apprentice.

5. Only pay a third of all training costs

Trailblazer IT apprenticeship programmes like Level 3 Infrastructure Technician and Level 4 Network Engineer are eligible for maximum funding from the government. This means that for every £1,000 you contribute to your apprentice's training, the government adds a further £2,000 – so you’ll pay a maximum of a third of the costs to train with Tech Industry Gold providers like Firebrand.



With apprenticeships high on the agenda for this government, now’s the time to reconsider how you or your business will be bringing in new tech talent in 2016.



Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Trailblazer IT apprentices leading the path for women in tech

 By Sarah Morgan

The number of women in the technology industry is growing at a rate of 238% faster than men, according to Sphero, showcasing the wide road being paved for the future women in IT.

With the theme of International Women’s Day 2016 #pledgeforparity, Firebrand celebrates the next generation of young women breaking the glass ceiling for girls in tech in the 21st century.
We have historically done a disservice to the multitude of women in the IT industry by allowing so many to exist in relative anonymity, relying on famous figureheads like Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Cook when referencing the industry.

Female apprentices paving the way for women in tech

While underrepresented as a whole across STEM subjects, there is an increasing number of high profile women pushing the technology agenda forward such as Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook) and Marissa Mayer (CEO of Yahoo). Firebrand’s female IT apprentices gave their thoughts on how the industry can inspire more young women:

Kimberley Bolton, Microsoft Apprentice of the Year 2014

Highlighting the importance of both men and women being role models for girls in tech, Kimberley says, “Many of the males I've worked with have been the foundations for my achievements and I'm lucky to have made great friendships with many of them.”

Jamila Telliam, Support Technician

“I believe the interest should be encouraged from home as well as in school and it's great that schools are encouraging young people to start coding.”

Guen-Ziu Dang, IT Support Technician

“My apprenticeship facilitator has been in the IT industry for more or less than 10 years. Hearing her stories (what companies she used to work for, how she got to where she is) really inspired me and I’m grateful to have her look after me as an apprentice.”

Jane Simmons, Developer

“If anything, now is the best time for women to show interest in IT. They are more likely to be taken on and accepted by companies for work experience and apprenticeships because the computer world needs more of them - for fresh ideas and a new way to look at the field.”

Inspire a generation of female IT pioneers with Trailblazer apprenticeships 

For over three years, Firebrand has been opening the doors to future female leaders in IT, giving them a route into in an industry historically dominated by men. With IT apprentice employers nationwide hiring female apprentices, Firebrand is inspiring the future generations of women continuing to inform, educate and develop cutting-edge technology by delivering higher and intermediate  trailblazer apprenticeships.  

To grow and develop an IT apprentice with Trailblazer apprenticeships, call us free on 0800 081 6022 or enquire online.



Monday, 14 September 2015

The Government’s Apprenticeship Levy Will Transform Apprenticeships – And Your Workforce

 By Sarah Morgan

Now apprenticeships have reached the top of the government agenda, investing in IT skills for your workforce is more crucial than ever to successful business.

In a bid to encourage British employers to invest in workforce training and create 3 million quality apprenticeships by 2020, the UK government opened consultations last month for plans to impose a tax levy to businesses to fund apprenticeships nationally.

What is the levy and how may it affect my business?


Whilst complete details are still to be released in autumn 2015, the levy is looking to rapidly enhance the skills of the UK workforce and bring to light the substantial economic benefits of hiring apprentices to businesses. 

A short summary of the levy is outlined below, sourced from the Department for Business Innovation & Skills ‘Apprenticeships Levy’ consultation document:

  • The levy is applied to larger employers, proportionate to the number of employees
  • Unused funding from employers that choose not to invest will be redirected back into the national fund, meaning those who do invest are likely to gain more from the levy than they contribute.
  • Funding will continue to be distributed via a digital voucher system to pay for the training required – regardless of size or sector.
  •  Employers can choose which apprenticeship training they purchase and use their vouchers, transferring the purchasing power to them.
  • Apprenticeships will be given equal legal footing with degrees.
  •  Employer National Insurance contributions for apprentices under 25 will be abolished

In brief, the levy holds greater value if you are committed to training your workforce. As larger competitors will have contributed to the apprenticeships scheme, they are less likely to ‘poach’ employees from those who have invested in training and more likely to become self-sufficient in building a skilled workforce.



IT apprentices – your most valuable investment


Businesses need fresh IT talent. According to the Office for National Statistics and Tech Partnership, the UK has over 130,000 vacant jobs across the IT industry per year and no suitable candidates to fill them, meaning it’s becoming increasingly expensive to hire.

With access to over 700,000 unemployed young people (UK Parliament, 2015) and a lack of IT-related degree graduates, now is the time to train either your own staff or external candidates at little to no cost. Apprenticeships are not age-discriminate and you can still receive government funding regardless of how old your apprentice is.

Firebrand can get you the talent – and fast


IT apprentices training with Firebrand will gain up to 38days of accelerated training at twice the speed, leaving more time for them to develop within your workplace. You’ll gain a certified apprentice with multiple industry-recognised qualifications from Microsoft, Cisco, CompTIA and ITIL.

With the opportunity to adapt your programme to suit the needs of the business, you also won’t be restricted to the ‘standardisation’ of normal apprenticeship programmes and you can choose which certifications will be most relevant to the job role you design.

It couldn’t be easier for you to take on an IT apprentice – we advertise apprenticeships and we recruit the candidates for you, completely free.

To start your search for an apprentice, head to our website.

Invest in your greatest asset now – fast. 


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 August 2015

5 Reasons why you don’t need A-levels

 By Sarah Morgan

If you’re receiving your GCSE results today, you’re probably planning your future. If you’re a student who sees A-levels as the only option, here’s why that isn’t the case.

Apprenticeships are a way to earn skills, experience and money without the hassle of going to college and studying for A-levels and can get you started in the career of your dreams.

Firebrand’s IT Apprenticeships are the opportunity you’ve been looking for and is the best thing that could’ve come your way. Here are 5 reasons why:

1. Get paid to learn

You could earn up to £18,000 a year on an IT apprenticeship. Once your learning’s completed, your salary typically rises to  £20,000 and then to £23,500 the year after that.

In the time it takes for someone finish A-levels and university, you’ll have already earned far more than the £27,000 debt they’ll have accumulated. You’ll also have five years of valuable experience behind you.



2. Get a meaningful job, hassle free

It’s often said how hard it is for graduates to find jobs because there is so much competition. You have the chance to bypass that, using a Firebrand IT apprenticeship as your shortcut into work. You’ll be working for a respected company, doing a job that really matters.

Plus, we’ll find your job for you – no endless trawling through jobs boards. Once we receive your details, we’ll do the leg work for you.

3. Invest in your future

An apprenticeship isn’t a short term fix. Taking the time to learn skills in a meaningful, practical environment will prove your work ethic, as well as your knowledge and ability. These skills are highly valued by employers and you’ll be seeing the benefits for years, because you started your career the right way.

4. Get industry recognised qualifications and up to £27,000 worth of training

Firebrand Apprenticeships are aligned with the demands of the IT industry. The qualifications you’ll earn are from well-respected vendors like Microsoft and Cisco. Not only are thy desired across Europe qualifications like these will give your CV an edge.

Also, apprenticeships are funded by the government and your employer. This means the £27,000 worth of training you’ll receive will be completely free.

Find out what’s so great about being an IT Apprentice from someone who is one - Guen, Firebrand's very own - http://bit.ly/1EC6iYR



5. Choose from a wide range of jobs

Roles like Network Engineer, Mobile App Developer, Software Developer, Web Developer and Games Developer are just some of the roles that you can do with a Firebrand IT Apprenticeship. These are some of the most highly sought after and in-demand jobs in the industry, giving your career fantastic potential for growth.

So, on the job training, valuable experience, industry recognised qualifications and backing from a respected employer in the industry are all included in an apprenticeship. This combination can take you anywhere you want to go.

Don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity. Head over to our website and Apply 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, 12 March 2015

Top 5 stories of National Apprenticeship Week 2015 so far


By Sarah Morgan


National Apprenticeship Week is upon us and there’s never been a better time to discover the benefits of IT apprenticeships for you and your business.

Firebrand has been following this week closely – here are the top 5 stories so far:


1. Government unveils cyber security initiatives for National Apprenticeship Week

Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, today unveiled a selection of initiatives to encourage young people to pursue a career in cyber security.

The Government’s National Cyber Security Programme will be offering IT apprenticeships to boost the number of civil service cyber specialists. Cyber security training in further and higher education will also be provided.

Cyber Specialist apprenticeships from The Tech Partnership will train young people to become professional Cyber Intrusion analysts to work in Security Operations Centres.

Plus, from September 2016, cyber security will now feature in all computing and digital further education at level three and four. This means all 16-19 year olds will receive an introduction to cyber security if they choose these subjects.

Find out more about the Government’s new cyber security IT apprenticeships here.



2. UK businesses could get £18bn additional revenue from apprenticeships

A report from the Centre of Economics and Business Research reveals that consumers prefer to buy from businesses employing apprentices.

Marking the start of National Apprenticeship Week 2015, the report explained how UK businesses could be missing out on £18billion a year in consumer spending.

“One in four consumers say they would go as far as even paying more for goods and services offered by companies that employ apprentices”

The Benefits of Apprenticeships to Businesses study also found that businesses offering apprenticeships were perceived by 66% of the public as contributing to society, with five million consumers more likely to make a purchase from an apprentice employer.

Read more about the Benefits of Apprenticeships study here.


3. The average apprentice delivers £10,000 in productivity gains every year

The same study also found that the average apprentice can deliver up to £13,824 per annum for your business.

The research demonstrates that even before an apprentice is fully qualified, many businesses will experience the economic benefits of offering apprenticeships. Find out more here.


4. Nick Clegg’s apprenticeship message

Nick Clegg marked National Apprenticeship Week with a video message. The Deputy Prime Minister called on more young people to boost their skills and get involved in apprenticeship schemes across all industries.

“Whatever your sector, there’s a hard-working, dedicated apprentice out there ready to help your organisation thrive… So, if you want a good career or a boost to your businesses’ bottom line – get an apprenticeship.”

He also spoke about research showing that “gaining a higher-level apprenticeship can boost your lifetime earnings by £150,000.”

Watch Nick Clegg’s message yourself below. Or visit the Government website.


5. BT plans to create 1,000 new apprenticeship and graduate jobs

BT recently announced a major job-creation scheme to launch 700 new apprenticeships, and 300 graduate positions, across the UK.

The 700 new apprentices will work in IT, software development and a variety of other roles across BT’s UK organisation.

“The UK’s future as a technology leader hinges on young people getting the skills, support and training they need to create successful careers in science, engineering and IT,” BT’s chief executive Gavin Patterson stated.

Read BT’s press release here.


Get involved in National Apprenticeship Week

To stay up to date, follow #NAW2015 on Twitter, or for key facts, resources tools and templates – take a look at the National Apprenticeship Week website.

Sign up now and find out how apprenticeships will grow your business.


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, 26 January 2015

Get £500 towards training from the Tech Partnership Training Fund


By Sarah Morgan


The Tech Partnership Training Fund provides funding for employers to invest in IT training. This means you can get a contribution of up to £500 off your Firebrand Training course – or up to £1,000 off an apprenticeship.

The Tech Partnership is a network of employers, collaborating to create the skills to accelerate the growth of the IT industry. The fund has been made available from the Government’s Employer Ownership of Skills Pilot.


£500 towards hundreds of accelerated Firebrand courses

Now not only will you save time on your Firebrand training course, you can also get a £500 contribution via the fund.

We offer courses in all the key areas that the Tech Partnership Fund is actively investing in, meaning you can apply for funding on most Firebrand courses, including : EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), Microsoft MCSA: Windows Server and VMware vSphere 5.5 Fast Track.

Tech Partnership Funding is available across a range of key IT areas. Use the links below to find the training you need, or take a look at hundreds of other accelerated courses:



Show this to your boss

Funding is available per course, per delegate. This could mean massive cost-savings across your business.

Show this to your boss and take advantage of this government-backed scheme: get you and your colleagues trained and certified at twice the speed – while saving £500 each.


Self Employed?

If you're self employed or a contractor, you can still get the £500 funding per course.


How to apply

To get the funding, your business must have an office in England, and the training must be taken at a Firebrand UK training centre.

This is all you need to do:

  1. Once you’ve chosen your Firebrand course, complete the funding application form for short course funding or apprenticeship funding
  2. You’ll then get a letter to confirm if you've been approved (most applications are), which you need to sign and return, along with details of the learner(s)

It’s as simple as that!

You can see samples of the application forms here:
To find out more about the Tech Partnership Training Fund – or for help with the application form - call us on 080 80 800 888.

Note: There are a handful of Firebrand courses that don’t qualify for the funding. Call us now to check that your course is covered.


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, 19 December 2014

How Firebrand’s new Level 4 IT Apprenticeships can get your business £10,000


By Sarah Morgan


Firebrand Training is excited to announce an expansion to our Apprenticeship portfolio. Developed with the Government’s Trailblazer project, you can now grow your business with Level 4 IT Apprentices from Firebrand.

You’ll be able to choose from a shortlist of talented young adults, ready to grow your business. They get two years of government funded IT training worth £27,000, a weekly starting salary of £150 and your business gets incentives of £2,700 to £10,800.


Train qualified staff on professional programs

Firebrand’s Level 4 IT Apprenticeships are available right now. Your apprentice can take the following two year training programmes:

  • Cisco CCNA Routing & Switching

    Your apprentice will develop into the role of Network Engineer. They will learn how to design, install, maintain and support communications and get certifications like the Cisco CCNA. But that’s just a fraction of what they’ll learn – find out more now.

  • Microsoft Network Engineer (MCSA)

    On this programme your apprentice will learn the principles of networking and gain well-known industry certifications like the CompTIA A+ & N+, ITIL Foundation and the Microsoft MCSA: Windows 8.1

  • Software Developer

    Firebrand will develop your apprentice into the role of Software Developer. They’ll learn how to build, manage and deploy code within enterprise environments and will become high quality developers within your organisation. Plus, they’ll get professional certifications like the MCSD: Web Applications and the MCSA: SQL Server.

  • Bespoke

    Work with Firebrand to build your perfect program and create an ideal new employee. In 2015, we will be launching more level 4 apprentice tracks, including custom and bespoke programmes.


How a Level 4 Apprentice will plug the skills gap in your business

IT skills are in short-supply – the EU predicts a shortfall of 700,000 IT roles by 2015. With this shortage, it’s no surprise that businesses across the UK are struggling to find qualified new staff.

With strong backing from the UK government, the apprenticeship scheme is tackling the skills gap – making it easier for your business to get bright young employees on board. The Skills Funding Agency has announced an additional £40m to fund apprenticeship places, as well as an extra £20m to fund the higher educational element.

Level 4 Apprenticeships combine the best of on-the-job training with high level qualifications. These apprentices will give you the knowledgeable workforce your business needs to grow. In fact, 25% of employers in England rate qualified higher apprentices as 25% more employable than those who took an alternative route to work.

Hire an apprentice and you’ll quickly train someone to understand exactly how your business works. You can also develop existing staff as they work with your apprentice, through mentoring opportunities and more.




Find out more about the benefits of higher apprenticeships here.

Level 4 Apprenticeships Accelerated

We’ve worked with the Government’s Trailblazer project to bring you Level 4 Apprenticeships. And as always, we will be delivering them the Firebrand way: solid training weeks for your apprentice and more uninterrupted time spent working for their employer.



Here’s how it works:

1. We advertise your vacancy and create a shortlist of candidates, matching your business needs, for you to interview

2. Your apprentice will get 23 to 38 days of accelerated Firebrand training and IT industry standard certifications like: Cisco CCNA, Microsoft MTA Networking Fundamentals, MCSA: Windows 8.1 and ITIL Foundation v3. With accelerated learning, your apprentice will be qualified in half the time.

3. You’ll pay just £6,000 to £9,000 over two years with the government contributing double what you pay. You’ll be able to spread the payment over 18 months (interest free) and the Government will also pay you £2,700 to £10,800 in incentives.

Get access to 1,000s of applicants looking for work right now - find out more about taking on an apprentice with Firebrand’s one and two-year programs here.

But that’s not all.

Turn a talented university graduate into an IT professional, fast

If you’re looking for a more experienced employee, why not hire a graduate straight from university? Firebrand graduates all have a STEM (science, technology, engineering or maths) degree and are more than ready to enter the IT industry.

To find out more about growing your business with talented university graduates, register your interest here.

Related articles:


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

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

In the click of IT - Firebrand Apprentice makes it into the Daily Mirror


By 


If you read the Daily Mirror this week you might have spotted Tom Davis, one of our talented Firebrand Apprentices.

Tom had a change of heart after his second year of A levels – ‘I realised that because I wanted to work in IT, I would be better off getting out there, learning while earning in a business environment.'

He contacted Firebrand and after an interview with IT firm, Adatis, Tom was successfully hired.

18 months later, having passed all elements of the course, Tom finished his apprenticeship and was recruited by Altius, another IT firm, as a business consultant.

Tom now travels across the country, helping clients analyse data and develop their businesses. ‘I’ve been here six months and love it,’ says Tom, ‘I do everything from meeting the clients, writing software, analysing the data and coming up with business solutions.’

But that’s not all; Tom is also an apprenticeships ambassador for Microsoft and now manages Altius’ apprenticeship and graduate programs.

‘At the time the company didn’t have a structured programme but I was given a budget and now they do.’

You can find the Daily Mirror’s full article below:

Tom Davis in the Daily Mirror

















Why IT?

There are more than 1.5million people working in IT and Telecoms and employment in the sector is growing at five times the rate of any other.

And with 500,000 new professionals needed to fill IT jobs in the UK over the next five years, many more young people like Tom are needed.

IT professionals are in high demand; the Daily Mirror found 9,823 jobs at theitjobboard.co.uk and another 27,827 roles at gov.uk/jobsearch, including apprenticeships.

And they earn well to:
  • IT technician - £15,000 to £30,000
  • Senior technician - £25,000 to £45,000
  • Project seniors – £24,000 to £29,000
  • Project managers - £31,500 to £40,000
  • Senior Project managers - £40,000 to £80,000

Know somebody with a flair for all things digital who wants to avoid student debt and earn a real salary? Take a look at 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, 16 September 2014

Practice beats theory – small and medium businesses value apprenticeships over degrees


By 



Recent university graduates have to face the fact that their degrees don’t land as many job opportunities with potential employers as they used to. Read on to find out what the reasons are behind this downturn in the value of university qualifications.

Practice outweighs theory

According to research by Sandler Training, employers, predominantly small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) have become more focused on the practical skills a potential new employee can bring to the table. This is purely because practical skills immediately deliver more tangible effects on a business.

The research also revealed university graduates are slightly less likely to be hired than those who have chosen the apprenticeship route.  Although the difference is marginal at present (51% vs. 49% in favour of apprentices), based on the responses of the surveyed SME’s, there’s an expected 20% rise in the hiring of apprentices over the next five years. At the same time, there’s only a mere 7% expected increase in the numbers of graduates hired.

What do students think?

Toni Pearce, NUS president, recently said: “An NUS poll of over 1,000 graduates found over half of them believing that ‘gaining experience’ is the main barrier to securing a job.”

A different poll by Ipsos MORI also revealed that youngsters in the UK think degree-level apprenticeships are better for future careers prospects than a traditional university degree. However, despite the growing popularity of vocational training paths, the majority of parents (56%) are more likely to encourage their children to take on a degree over an apprenticeship.


Do you want to avoid being rejected for having no work experience? Get hands-on with an IT apprenticeship and you’ll learn crucial skills, while you also earn money. Watch the following video by the National Apprenticeship Service to get a better idea of what you can achieve as an IT apprentice.



Apply now and kick-start your career

If you’re committed and not afraid to “get your hands dirty” we have tons of great opportunities for you. Visit Firebrand Apprenticeships to find out more about our programmes and the qualification you will get whilst working a paid, full-time role.

What Firebrand Apprentices said

  • “Loved it! Don’t want to leave. Enjoyed all of it, learned some great things.” – Timothy Rabson
  • “I feel that this has started to become the most rewarding educational experience I have had...The instructor makes lessons interesting, treats us like adults and respects us.” – Elizabeth MacKenzie
Learn more about Firebrand Apprenticeships and apply 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, 14 August 2014

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


By 


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, 12 August 2014

Higher education is crucial – You might not be aware of all the options


By 


Over half of students in England and Wales have no back-up plan if they fail to get the grades they need, research by Which? University found.

Researchers questioned over 1000 17 and 18-year-olds and found that 54% said they had not made any preparations for the possibility that they might not get the grades for either their first or second choice universities.

A typical University degree isn’t the only way to progress your career

University is an experience, but it’s not for everyone and there are other paths to your dream career.  
It’s important that you don’t feel pressured into taking a university course that you don’t like. Tuition fees could be raised even further past their current £9,000-a-year cap. You don’t want to find yourself in a position where you are paying £27,000 in tuition fees for a degree that you don’t value.

Make sure you are choosing university for the right reasons. Many often believe it is the only option, even if it doesn’t fit with your goals.

Students need to weigh up what their employment prospects will be after degree study against the debt they will accrue and seriously consider what an alternative educational and training route may bring in terms of expense, career progression and financial rewards,’ writes Jason Geall from The Student Room.

What else is there?

Avoid making a snap decision that could affect your future career and financial standing; educate yourself on all of the opportunities available.

Apprenticeships

You could be earning money, getting hands-on experience and making a real contribution to a company with an Apprenticeship. You’ll also completely bypass massive student debt and will finish your apprenticeship with more first-hand work experience than the majority of students graduating from university.

Apprenticeships combine hands-on experience with industry qualifications












What’s more, you’ll also get training leading to industry recognised qualifications. When 
you’re Apprenticeship ends you’ll be fully qualified to work. Plus, once you finish, it’s highly likely you’ll be able to stay with your employer and continue working. In fact, 98% of Firebrand Apprentices stay with their employer’s after their Apprenticeship finishes.

Thousands of organisations across the UK value and support their Apprentices. With a massive range of areas to work within, you’ll find a great entry-point to get on track to your dream career.

If you want to pursue a career in IT – you’re in luck. The IT industry is booming but the UK just can’t keep up with the demand for skilled professionals. As a result, we are currently experiencing a skills gap that could cost the UK as much as £2bn a year.

There are hundreds of great IT Apprenticeships available - with a bit of determination you’ll soon see your skills in demand across the country. The UK will need an additional 750,000 skilled digital workers by 2017 – you could be amongst this number.

School leaver’s programmes

A school leaver programme is a fixed-term, paid job available to students after sixth form that provides an intensive, structured training programme and in some cases, professional qualifications.

Over 300 top employers offer these competitive programmes and many more join this number each year. Companies are beginning to recognise the talent and enthusiasm younger students can bring to their organisations. As a result, they are investing time and money into training and developing their School Leaver programmes.

The majority of programmes offer a competitive salary and on top of that, you won’t have to pay for the valuable qualifications.

Sponsored Degrees

Sponsored degrees aren’t a typical university experience. Companies want to develop their own talented graduates by taking students and sponsoring them through degree level courses. The end result is a highly-trained graduate who understands their sponsor company in-depth.

You’d work with the company during holidays or work part-time and study at university for the rest of the time.

You’ll benefit from a salary and valuable work experience. Plus, you’re likely to finish your degree without any debt and be able to walk straight into a job with your company at the end of the process.

It’s important you consider your career choice as some sponsored schemes may require you to work for the company immediately after your graduate. Also, you will have a very different experience to most undergraduates – you will likely be working when others are socialising (especially during the holidays).

It’s not too late to plan ahead

Whatever you plan to do once you receive your results - keep Jason’s words in mind - "The worst thing would be making a snap decision under pressure that could affect a future career and finding yourself on a course you don't like.”

"There's still time, now, to get it right."

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.