Friday, 6 June 2014

Over 100 young people chose Firebrand Apprenticeships


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

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

Firebrand Apprenticeships until now

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

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

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

Great moments and success stories

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

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

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

Why employers and young people should choose Firebrand Apprenticeships

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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