As a technology partner, we are all about delivering fully connected business technologies to create a streamlined and automated way for your company to thrive, and in the process, transforming your operational efficiency to a new standard.
But it’s not always about technology – we mustn’t forget the workforce behind it, and the people who make things happen for your company. From the long-timers to the new recruits, everyone can contribute towards the health and prosperity of your company. According to the Government’s Apprenticeship website, “Hiring an apprentice is a productive and effective way to grow talent and develop a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce.” Did you know, for example, that:
- 78% of employers said apprenticeships helped them improve productivity
- 74% of employers said apprenticeships helped them improve the quality of their product or service
- As an employer, you can get funding from the government to help pay for apprenticeship training
So whilst technologies can help you improve efficiency and productivity, getting the right people behind the technology will make things happen. And one way to nurture this is through apprenticeships – and now is a great time to start thinking about it.
Our very own apprentices have played a vital part in ensuring we are efficient with our customer service, productive in application-development and supportive as a team member. So what’s it like to be an apprentice and what are the benefits of apprenticeships? We’ve asked our Software Developer Apprentice, James Richards, some questions.
James Richards – Software Developer Apprentice
Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship?
I made the decision, after some thought, once I finished school. I had secured a place at Nottingham University to read Computer Science immediately after school, but decided to take a Maths A-level with a view to getting into Imperial College in London instead. During that time, my elder brother discussed with me the benefits of learning on the job with apprenticeships, as opposed to the topics you learn at university which become almost obsolete before you have even started a job.
Coupled with the fact that whilst you are in an apprenticeship you are earning money rather than at university where you are accumulating debt, slowly my decision was leaning towards the apprenticeship route. One of the final facts that guided my choice was when I read that Google was employing more candidates without degrees than with them. My slight concerns about the social life I might miss from a University life were put to one side with the Covid 19 outbreak.
How are you finding working with Avrion?
I am finding the work fun – I have already worked on two new frameworks, both Angular and .NET. Angular is the framework being used for building client side user interfaces and makes it easy for linking together HTML and TypeScript. The .NET framework, on the other hand, is generally used for server side programming. So far I’ve mainly used it for building API’s. Learning about them with hands-on experience, rather than in a lecture hall, makes it so much easier to understand and retain the information. You can get involved in real life testing and the learning approach is massively helped by the trial and error process an apprenticeship brings.
How is the Team at Avrion?
Obviously Covid has had a massive effect on how life would have been, but I am on regular Zoom meetings with the full team at Avrion. I have a mentor in the project work element with a Head of Development, Harish, as well as with Caroline, our Project & Planning Manager and Apprentice Manager, who helps me with everything related to the apprenticeship. I look forward to getting to know the rest of the team more as time goes on.
Tell me about the other side of the Apprenticeship – the learning.
So far I have completed two courses with Firebrand online. Obviously, this is very different to a classroom experience, but they have been Webex live sessions due to Covid. The style has been quite varied with two lecturers, the first being more interactive with time taken for the class to contribute and discuss. The second lecturer has a more instructive, follow-along type of technique, but allows students to chip in if there are any questions.
Would you recommend an apprenticeship to anyone thinking about it?
I definitely would, particularly around a subject like software and computer science. It’s an excellent way to get your foot in the door of a rapidly changing industry. You are in the mix from the start, not just learning things hypothetically.
It’s so informative to learn from the business side, and directly from customers, what their challenges are and how the software can help to improve their business processes and hence their profitability. There is nothing that can replace the knowledge of coding for real jobs and seeing how technology can provide improvements in a real life situation.
Firebrand Training has delivered apprenticeships since 2012 and apprenticeship Standards since 2015. They were awarded Digital Apprenticeship Provider of the Year at the 2018 FE Week and AELP Apprenticeship Awards. They have also been listed in the Top 20 IT Training Companies in the World for five years running.
“We’re delighted Ofsted have recognised the hard work put in by all our staff to continue delivery in a challenging year. Firebrand have a reputation for developing weapons-grade IT & Digital professionals through our award-winning apprenticeship programmes. The whole business showed great adaptability and resilience which has fed through to superb support for the apprentices as we continue to support exciting new and existing clients in their digital transformation plans”
Ben Hansford, Managing Director at Firebrand
Here at Avrion we strongly believe in the value of investing in and nurturing people to be the best they can be, and we pride ourselves in having a great team across all departments. With apprentices, we have worked closely with Firebrand, who are committed to providing us with the skills we need.
“We’re committed to upskilling the IT and digital sectors. Our focus is always on ensuring digital skills support what the industry needs. We base our apprenticeship training on identified skills demands. We ensure your digital professionals can deliver the technological innovations you require to succeed.”
If you have any questions about the benefits of apprenticeships, you can contact Caroline Robertson, Project & Planning Manager and Apprentice Manager at Avrion.