Showing posts with label Government. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Government. Show all posts

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.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Why Microsoft and The Government support IT apprenticeships


By Sarah Morgan


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


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


What’s in it for employers?

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

Andrew Jones MP takes the stage at our event


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

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

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

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


What is Microsoft doing for apprenticeships?

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

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

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

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


Hear from the employers & apprentices themselves

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

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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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

Kimberley Bolton talks IT apprenticeshipsduring the panel discussion



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


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


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



Keep a look out for the next event!

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

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


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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, 12 December 2014

Fast track your career into Cyber Security in 2015

 By 

Continuing growth in salaries, a shortage of skilled professionals and a rapid increase in available jobs make a career in cyber security a real prospect. Follow this guide to fast track your career into cyber security in 2015...

If you’re considering a career in cyber security then 2015 could be the year for you. The hacking of Sony Pictures is the latest in a string of high profile attacks, which continues to put recruitment of skilled cyber security professionals top of the agenda.
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Cyber security vacancies in the UK have doubled in the last year, with demand outstripping supply, according to a recent study by Technojobs. Combine this with of a 10% growth in the average salary for UK cyber security professionals, now £57,000, and increased Government support and it’s easy to see why the current climate is perfect for employment in the field of cyber security.


Follow these tips to fast track your career into cyber security in 2015…



1. Find the right job for you


First things first, work out which job is right for you. Whether you want to become a Computer Forensics Investigator, Information Security Analyst or Penetration Tester, it’s important to know what the job entails.
SANS have compiled a list of the top 20 Information Security and Cyber security jobs which you can use to track down job descriptions on the major job boards.


2. Get certified


Sometimes the quickest way into the cyber security sector is to get certified. In fact the majority of commercial cyber security and defense-related IT Security jobs require security certifications as a prerequisite. So the lack of certification may be the only thing standing between you and your cyber security career. Find out.


If you are looking at entry-level positions then the CompTIA Security+ and Microsoft MTA Security Fundamentals are a great place to start.

Those considering a more advanced position would be well placed to consider EC-Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification or ISACA’s Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) certification.
Then there is the industry gold standard Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) from (ISC)2, for those eyeing up a position in Senior Management.
This is merely scratching the surface, there are a range of security certifications available from other renowned vendors including Cisco, Symantec and GIAC.


3. Make sure you have the right experience


This echoes back to the first point, when you’re looking at job descriptions, scope out the level of experience required for the job in question. You may realise that you don’t have the right experience at this stage, but at least you know what you’ll need to be working towards.
For those looking at starting a career, this may mean taking a non cyber security-related job as a stepping-stone. As pointed out in a fantastic post from Ira Wrinkler in Computerworld:

“You cannot be expected to protect computers if you don’t know how to administer a computer system, you can’t secure a system that you can’t properly configure on your own, you can’t secure a database if you aren’t fluent in the database management system, and you certainly can’t write secure code if you can’t code at all.”

A great way to bridge the experience gap at the entry level is through voluntary work experience or internships. Keep your eyes peeled, they are everywhere.


4. Get your CV in shape



This can be applied to any industry, but always make sure your CV is up to scratch. This will be the first impression you make to a potential employer, get it wrong and it will be the last.
Having past experience in the recruitment sector here’s my top advice:

  • Ensure your CV is tailored to each individual position. This includes a covering letter outlining why you want the job and why they should consider you.
  • You need to make an impact in the first few lines, so highlight relevant experience and achievements from the outset.
  • Don’t waffle, if your CV is more than 2 pages then it’s too long.
  • No spelling mistakes, with modern day spell check it’s unforgivable.


5. Consider signing up with a recruitment agency



This advice is perhaps more for the seasoned professional, but signing up with a specialist recruitment agency can significantly improve your chances of landing that coveted role. Yes you’ll have to go through an interview, but once on the books there are numerous benefits.

A good recruitment consultant will:

  • Have in depth understanding of the industry and some powerful connections
  • Advise you on how to improve your CV and interviewing skills
  • Sell you into employers, even if that employer isn’t currently looking
  • Get the first shot at a high profile position that may never make a job site
So there we have it, five tips to set you on your way to a new cyber security career in 2015. I wish you every success.



Author Profile

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, Edward has a wide variety of experience with Microsoft Technologies including SharePoint, 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.