About IT apprenticeships for employers

Posted: 20th of December 2012 by Anonymous

Every now and then, it's worth looking at an apprenticeship from the employer's perspective.  After all, there are always two sides to every story, and an apprenticeship is no exception. So let's look at a typical twelve-month IT apprenticeship and what en employer can expect from a training provider, once the application paperwork is dealt with and the £1500 government apprenticeship grant has been approved.

To start with, the training provider has to have a programme in place that enables an apprentice to work towards a recognised qualification.  Many apprenticeships offer the chance to study for a certification like an NVQ, but there are other IT qualifications, and since the vast majority of businesses use Microsoft products, the logical move would be to offer certifications in the use of certain of those products.

Certifications like this mean an apprentice can use the initials MCTS, or Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist to show they have the appropriate skills for a particular piece of Microsoft software - from an operating system to a means of keeping a company's data secure.

But Microsoft isn't the only IT organisation offering certifications:  CompTIA, for example, offers certification for computer support technicians (in several languages), ensuring the candidate offers the competencies of an IT professional at entry level to start with, and then progresses with further examinations. And, of course, there's always that NVQ. However, that's only if the apprentice meets certain selection criteria, as in the number of GCSEs, what they include and what kind of grades they received.  That's usually up to the training provider to decide during their recruitment and screening process.

For a twelve-month programme, there's usually an introductory phase providing the apprentice with what's often referred to as "soft skill training" before moving on to the first of the certifications the apprentice is studying for.

While the apprentice is studying, it's up to the training provider and the employer to decide what kind of role he or she is best suited for in the workplace, before later on establishing the start of a suitable career path and perhaps re-thinking both training and the role.  To start with, an apprentice could be working in positions like helpdesk engineer, IT support, IT technician or first line technical support.

And then, of course, what happens at the end of the apprenticeship is up to the employer and the apprentice.  It could be time for the apprentice to move on to greener pastures ... or, since it's become an expensive - and sometimes risky - business to recruit externally, to accept an invitation to stay on at the company as a permanent employee.

Also see: IT apprentice application specialist

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