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



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, 13 August 2015

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

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


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

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

Earn while you learn

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

Apprenticeships are 33% faster than University degrees

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

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

Get a real job

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

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

Avoid £27,000 worth of student debt

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

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

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

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

Interested? Head over to our website and Apply Now

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Two Firebrand employers (and one Firebrand!) recognised at Microsoft Apprentice of the Year 2015 awards


By Sarah Morgan


Two Firebrand employers, and one Firebrand apprentice, were recently recognised at the Microsoft Apprentice of the Year 2015 awards - hosted by Microsoft UK’s Managing director, Michel Van der Bel.

The annual awards, which highlight the value IT apprentices bring to their businesses, recognised Firebrand apprentice employers: TechQuarters and Gamma. As well as 5G Communications' Firebrand apprentice, Richard Smith.

Judges were impressed with the great attitude apprentices shared with their employers – with many businesses expanding to hire even more talented young professionals.


Michel Van der Bel (left) and TechQuarters’ CEO, Chris Dunning

Gamma get recognised! Gamma employer, Joe Nunn with Michel Van der Bel plus Firebrand apprentices Reece Money and Simon Curren (left to right)



Firebrand apprentice Richard Smith (right),
5G Communications, receives his award
2014’s Apprentice Employer of the Year – Mitchell Fedlman, Cloudamour - spoke at length about apprenticeships, and why 20% of his workforce are now apprentices.

In regards to how apprenticeships shaped his business, Mitchell said, “We want to be vibrant. We want to be energetic…and we are.”

“To sustain rapid growth you need staff…you need apprenticeships.”

2015 marked the 5th anniversary of Microsoft’s Apprentice of the year Awards. Microsoft’s ‘Get-On’ programme has so far helped over 7000 apprentices get employed and trained by Microsoft partners.

Find out more about how to hire a Firebrand apprentice, on a programme with 38 days of Microsoft training and certifications.

Firebrand is the fastest way to develop IT staff with industry-recognised training and certifications worth £10,000s. Expand your business today.


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. 

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.


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. 

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. 

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. 

Friday, 14 November 2014

How Microsoft is changing the face of IT education


By 


Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, spoke at Future Decoded this week about the success and worldwide adoption of the Youthspark apprenticeship program.

Amongst talk of Microsoft’s cloud-first, mobile-first ethos, Satya also described Microsoft’s vision for the future of education.

Satya Nadella spoke about the importance of computer science being within STEM (Science, Technology, English and Maths) education.

Microsoft’s aim is to make computer science and IT education available to all. ‘The role of technology is to empower people,’ Satya states – he views IT education as something not to be restricted to the ‘elite.’

A commitment to IT education

So far Microsoft’s global apprenticeship program, YouthSpark has enabled over 6000 IT-passionate young people across the UK to find jobs as apprentices.

Through 30+ programs, Microsoft YouthSpark has created new opportunities for more than 227 million young people in over 100 countries around the world.

‘To me that’s the kind of empowerment, at large, that will transform societies and economies.’ – Satya Nadella

Announced in 2012, this company-wide initiative aims to create opportunities for 300 million youth by 2015. And with more than 75 million unemployed young people around the world, it’s definitely a worthwhile cause.  

The UK needs more digital skills

Microsoft isn’t the only company aware of this need for IT education amongst young people. There’s an undeniable lack of digitally skilled workers in the UK. In fact the UK will need another 750,000 digital-savvy workers by 2017, according to research from O2.

That’s a massive deficit but consider this:  Telefónica’s UK CEO Ronan Dunne, speaking at Future Decoded, explained how NEETS (Not in Education, Employment or Training) are actually more digitally literate than the UK’s existing workforce.

The IT-savvy professionals we need are out there, they just need programs like YouthSpark to prove that a career in IT is one worth pursuing.

Know a young person passionate about IT?

Firebrand is partnered with Microsoft as part of Get On, the UK division of the Global YouthSpark initiative.

Firebrand Apprentice, Kimberley Bolton, was the first woman to receive a Microsoft Apprentice of the Year award. Now she’s a Microsoft Apprentice ambassador and was sat on the Microsoft Apprenticeship panel at Future Decoded.

Kimberley explained how at first she was somewhat uneasy going into her IT apprenticeship but with encouragement from staff and a strong female role model, she prospered.  Kimberley previously saw her role as a ‘man’s job’ but now she’s doing it, and with incredible success.


Bring in new talent and secure the future of your business with a young apprentice or graduate from Firebrand. Boost your business and help solve the worldwide need for IT education.


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, 11 November 2014

Satya Nadella outlines Microsoft's vision of a mobile-first, cloud-first world

 By 

Satya

Speaking in the UK for the first time as CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella headlined a star studded list of globally recognised thought leaders including; Sir Bob Geldof, Jeremy Paxman and Dame Stella Rimington, as part of Microsoft's Future Decoded event.

The event, designed to discover, provoke and provide insight into an uncertain future shaped by rapid technological advancement, saw Nadella open up about his plans for Microsoft and his views of a mobile-first, cloud-first world where indviduals and businesses are empowered by the devices that they own.

The age of Mobile


With studies indicating that in 2014 the average European household owns 10 digital devices, this truly is the age of mobile. Mobile devices now outnumber people on the planet, even greater in number however are sensors which through the aid of mobile we can now interact with the internet of things. 

Speaking on Microsoft's mobile-first, cloud-first ethos, Nadella said:

"To me, when we say mobile first, it's not the mobility of the device, it's actually the mobility of the individual experience.

Speaking of the sensors that surround us, Nadella talked about the emergence of new mobiles services made possible through the power of cloud computing in combination with mobile. Nadella went on to say:

"The only way you are going to be able to orchestrate the mobility of these applications and data is through the cloud... That's why the juxtaposition of cloud infrastructure and mobile experiences is where the world is going."

Take Hive as an example, through the power of mobile you can now control heating from your mobile. Geolocation allows you to turn off the heating when you leave, and turn it on as you are return home. All this enriches your experience whilst also helping to save up to £150 a year. 






Facilitating innovation

Today's changing technology industry only respects one thing, innovation. An ideal at the forefront of Nadella's plans for Microsoft. He went on to talk about how to facilitate innovation and change, talking about the the 3 concentric circles for any organisation to continually innovate and succeed.




  • New concepts - a company cannot stick to existing concepts, they become outdated. New concepts are required to invent new ideas.
  • New capabilities - these are required to support the new concepts. Nadella used Microsoft's example of their Cloud infrastructure and how this new capability in combination with silicon allow them to innovate.
  • Supporting Culture - core to innovation is a culture that actively encourages and facilitates the act.


No big reveal 

Satya Nadella's first UK appearance was quietly understated. There were no revelations, no new technologies were not announced nor worldwide technological revolution promised. Instead this was an intimate conversation introducing us to the new Microsoft CEO where we learned about his ideals, his motivations and his vision for future technology and Microsoft.

This may have left a few dissapointed, but I along with the masses came away with a valuable insight into the man at the helm of a global technological super power now valued at $400 billion. Did I mention that's bigger than Google Inc.? 


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, 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.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

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


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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


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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


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

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

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

You’ll be earning money, not losing it

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

Practical, hands-on and relevant

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

Stay Employed

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

Not to be overlooked

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



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

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

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


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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.