Thursday, 6 March 2014

How to get an Apprenticeship in IT

By Edward Jones

As we move towards the end of National Apprenticeship Week 2014, here at Firebrand we are working hard to answer questions from the many eager and capable youngsters currently expressing an interest in Firebrand's IT apprenticeships.

Having discovered the benefits of a career in IT and how an IT apprenticeship can help make that a reality, the next question on a would be apprentice's mind is often 'how do I get an apprenticeship in IT?' In the following post I will seek to give practical advice on how to achieve such a feat.

How to get an apprenticeship in IT

Whilst no single piece of advice equates to a silver bullet, if you follow these simple steps, you will find yourself on the path towards securing an apprenticeship. 

Finding an Apprenticeship

You've made a great start as Firebrand offer a range of IT apprenticeship programs. That a side, a key factor in securing an opportunity is first finding it. In September 2013, the National Apprenticeship service published figures highlighting 6,846 vacancies in IT, Software, Web and Telecoms Professional apprenticeships.

You can find a range of opportunities, including Firebrand's IT apprenticeships, on the following websites:

  • Apprenticeships Vacancy Matching Service - the National Apprenticeship Service's official website advertising thousands of vacancies.
  • Not Going to Uni - offering apprenticeship opportunities from more than 1000 training providers, Not Going to Uni currently advertise 461 IT apprenticeships. (correct as of 06/03/2013) 
  • - the UK's #1 job site currently advertises 267 apprentice vacancies in the field of IT & Telecoms
Which type of Apprenticeship is right for you?

'IT Apprenticeship' is a rather broad term covering a wide variety of different programs. There are thousands of different careers in IT, focusing on multiple types of technology, with vastly different job roles and as such there are many types of apprenticeships available. Working out the which type is right for you is vital in focusing your application process. 

After all, you wouldn't want to take an apprenticeship that teaches you how to manage a server, when in fact you want to become an App developer. Our IT apprentice program currently offers 4 separate tracks:
  • IT Desktop Support - learn all about PC technology and functionality, operating systems, security and network management as well as server administration.
  • IT Solutions Developer - currently in huge demand, learn the skills necessary to become a developer including software, web, application and gaming development, alongside the basics of programming in C#.
  • Server and Database Associate- this apprenticeship will teach you how to install, maintain, support and monitor the latest versions of Microsoft Windows Server and SQL Server.
  • HP & Microsoft Advanced Apprenticeship - this specifically develops knowledge associated with both HP and Microsoft technology. Upon completion the apprentice could work in an array of careers including that of IT Support Technician, Systems Engineer, IT User Support, IT and Network Administrator or System Administrator.
Check back regularly with multiple programmes currently being developed.

Here's Microsoft's MD, Michael Van der Bel talking about why you should sign up with an apprenticship with Firebrand.

Tailor your CV

Prior to joining Firebrand, I spent the better part of 3 years in recruitment. As a recruiter, I would wade through 1000s of CVs every single day. Time was money, so making a decision on whether an applicant is suitable usually occurs in the first 15-20 seconds of reading a CV. We would look for relevant keywords associated with the job role the applicant had applied for. This included but was not limited to past experience and if relevant an associated certification or qualification.

Tailoring your CV to reflect the opportunity you are applying for is a powerful way of catching the readers attention. For example if your applying for Firebrand's IT Solutions Developer apprenticeship, you could use the following techniques.

  • Add a covering letter expressing your desire to attend the apprentice program.
  • The title of your CV could state "Curriculum Vitae for the IT Solutions Developer Apprenticeship"
  • Most CVs contain a brief candidate profile, use this as an opportunity to mention your desire to work as a developer. 
  • Demonstrate relevant qualifications. If you have a GCSE in Information Technology, or a beginners certificate in coding, make sure you highlight it. Maybe even put it in bold. Or even underline it too. (stands out, doesn't it)
  • Demonstrate relevant experience. Leaving school, it's unlikely you have held a career in IT, but that doesn't mean you can't demonstrate experience. Perhaps you've made your own website, or built a basic app? Linking to these in a CV is a fantastic way of demonstrating relevant experience and interest.

Get going and Good Luck 

So there you have it, some practical advice on how to get an apprenticeship in IT. I hope you find it useful. Please feel free to comment if you have any additional questions, or perhaps want to add your own advice based on your experience.

About the Author

As part of Firebrand's global marketing team, Edward actively works to serve the IT community with news, reviews and technical how to guides. Edward is an active member of the IT community contributing to a variety of tech publications including Microsoft TechNet, Channel Pro and PC Advisor among others.