Microsoft is helping to create the next generation of cloud experts

People looking to learn cutting-edge technology skills can now sign up to a Microsoft apprenticeship programme that teaches them about cloud computing.

The Azure Apprentice programme offers training in a range of cloud features, including the different ways it can be provided, how it can be used for developers and web architects, as well as becoming an engineer.

Microsoft announced last month that it will recruit an extra 30,000 digital apprentices for its network of 25,000 partners in the UK, as part of a programme that aims to teach people digital skills to ensure the country remains a leader in next-generation technologies.

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The Government, which last week launched its own plans to offer digital skills to millions of individuals, is keen to create more apprenticeships so young people who decide not to go to university can learn job skills and move into a fulfilling career that can benefit themselves and the wider economy.

This is especially true in the UK’s technology sector, where employment has grown 2.8 times faster than overall employment in the past decade, according to a report by Tech City, which supports the digital economy. A total of 2.4 million apprenticeships were started in England during the last parliament.

Microsoft’s Azure apprenticeships will be launched by three organisations: Firebrand, Intequal and risual.

Employment in the UK’s technology sector has grown 2.8 times faster than overall employment in the past decade
Employment in the UK’s technology sector has grown 2.8 times faster than overall employment in the past decade

Firebrand will run 12 to 24-month programmes to help applicants become Infrastructure Technicians, Software Developers, cyber security experts and Network Engineers, while learning how to “design, install, maintain and support communication networks within an organisation”, according to the company’s website.

“Azure skills demand is constantly evolving, which is why we’ve launched the first Azure apprenticeships with Microsoft to bring new talent into the industry, said Stefano Capaldo, Managing Director of Firebrand.

“Companies that choose to train their employees with the skills they really need will make a difference to their bottom line. Through these accelerated training programmes, we’re seeing the difference that can be made to IT teams of all sizes, in businesses ranging from software development through to retail and in the public sector from councils to schools and universities.”

Intequal, meanwhile, offers apprenticeship candidates the chance to gain certificates and skills in the IT sector.

“We have seen a significant rise in demand for skills in cloud technology from our clients in the past twelve months,” said Tony Pitchford, Head of Sales and Marketing at Intequal. “Finding candidates who can be mentored and trained to meet a company’s requirements will be a key strategy for growth in this market. Apprentices are a great way to address the skills gap. With the backing of Microsoft certifications, apprentices will be able to demonstrate that they can help an IT department drive cloud deployments.”

Alun Rogers, Director and co-founder of risual, added: “The Azure-focused apprenticeship we will be delivering for Microsoft is pivotal to us supporting companies to become proficient with the Microsoft Cloud. The apprenticeship is industry relevant, and by using our own industry expert assessors we can support learners to empower companies with cloud skills. As a Microsoft Gold Partner we know what the industry needs and utilise our own consultants to keep our assessors up to date and at the cutting edge of Microsoft technology to develop highly skilled and certified apprentices to grow the workforce. We are replicating our own apprenticeship scheme that has supported the growth of our own company to guide other companies how to create their own talent pool and tackle the digital skills shortage.”

Microsoft has also teamed up with the National Apprenticeship Service as an Intermediary Partner, helping to promote the benefits of apprenticeships.

Sue Husband, Director of the National Apprenticeship Service, said: “Employer-led apprenticeship reforms continue to improve the quality of apprenticeships to provide the skills that employers need. Apprenticeships work for businesses of all sizes – from small and medium employers to macro employers, giving employers the opportunity to train individuals in the roles their business needs.

“Apprenticeships also bring opportunity; to attract new talent, offer progression and develop a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce. There has never been a better time to employ an apprentice.”