For 16-19 year olds figuring out your next steps can be somewhat overwhelming. With an ever increasing number of education and work based learning routes being put forward to students, deciding on the best pathway requires much thought. As well as choosing courses that they’re most likely to enjoy over the next 3-4 years, much consideration now needs to be placed upon the job market itself and awareness of employability.

There is no ‘one size fits all’ and though Higher Education is the best option for many it’s certainly not the only option as students can at times be lead to believe. Over the past couple of years our Government has put a great deal of emphasis on youth apprenticeships and their value to both young people and employers.

imageAt Microsoft we are committed to the development of UK IT skills and as a response to partner requests have developed The Microsoft Partner Apprenticeship Program. A core strand of Microsoft UK’s Youth Initiative Get on; helping 300,000 young people get inspired, get skilled and get a job. The Microsoft Partner Apprenticeship is designed for and developed by Microsoft Partners to help bring new talent into the industry.

The programme is fully supported by National Apprenticeship Service, Skills Funding Agency and awarding bodies such as City & Guilds. Placing value and recognition on work based learning has allowed us to see first-hand the benefits that can come from providing an alternative pathway into the UK IT industry.

Take Tom Davis for Example. A Microsoft IT Apprentice on a 12 month placement at Adatis Consulting in Farnham. He tells us that working with the business intelligence solutions and data warehousing specialists has given him a real foot in the door of the UK IT Industry.

Whilst on his placement Tom’s been able to sit free MTA qualifications (Microsoft Technology Associate qualifications can be taken in in topics such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint, Office365, HTML5 and Gaming) and come away with level 3 City and Guild qualifications, substantially improving his employability.

Not to mention the confidence and experience he’s gained learning how to overcome everyday IT industry challenges that combined with the dynamics of a busy Microsoft reseller.

Tom was so impressed with the scheme that he even set up an evangelist style blog. ‘Tech Apprentice’ was originally created as a personal page to log his progress with Adatis but has evolved into an online space encouraging other young people to seriously consider the option of an IT apprenticeship.

To see more about why Tom wanted to join the Microsoft programme, why not check out his video blog.

The program is also now recruiting. For further details please contact microsoft.apprentice@itskillsman.co.uk