IT apprenticeships: How to get started

If you’re passionate about tech, an IT apprenticeship could be for you…

IT is a fast-paced, rapidly evolving and exciting industry that commonly rewards professionals with £100,000+ salaries and brilliant career opportunities. From professional hackers to application developers, there’s a wide variety of roles out there to choose from.

And with the vast majority of businesses relying on IT to survive, technology professionals are in high demand – meaning there’s a giant skills gap in the UK. In fact, 75% of companies admit that they currently face a shortage of technology professionals.

But many don’t realise that university isn’t the only route into IT. With an IT apprenticeship, you can achieve a rewarding career in IT faster by skipping years of studying (and hefty student debt). You’ll also hold over a year of on-the-job experience, massively valuable to any potential employers.

We spoke to the experts at Firebrand Training to find out how to get started…


What is an IT apprenticeship?

An IT apprenticeship is a real job in technology that provides you with training, industry-recognised qualifications and a salary.

An apprenticeship is no more junior than a degree and apprenticeships can be taken on by anyone over 16 – meaning there’s no upper age limit to get started.


Choosing the right level of apprenticeship

Apprenticeship programmes are divided into different levels, and your existing qualifications will typically determine what level of IT apprenticeship you should aim to take on.

The most popular and relevant for a career path into IT are Advanced Apprenticeships (Level 3) and Higher Apprenticeships (Level 4).


Level 3 – Advanced Apprenticeships

Take on a Level 3 Apprenticeship and you’ll work full-time for an employer and get on-the-job training for a specific role within a technology company or IT team.

Level 3 Apprenticeships include over 13 months of paid work experience.

To apply for a Level 3 Apprenticeship you’ll need at least five GCSEs (or equivalent) at Grade C or above, including Maths and English. Advanced apprenticeships also act as a prerequisite for the Level 4 (Higher Apprenticeships).


Level 4 – Higher Apprenticeships

Once you have completed a Level 3 Apprenticeship, you’ll be eligible to apply for a Higher Apprenticeship.

Like the Level 3 Apprenticeship, you’ll work full-time for an employer as you further specialise your skills through on-the-job experience, training and industry qualifications.

Prerequisites for Level 4 Apprenticeships will depend on the employer, but will generally include two or more A-levels or completion of a relevant Level 3 Apprenticeship.

Level 4 Apprenticeships typically last around 16 months, and the majority of apprentices have a permanent role waiting for them with their company at the end of the programme.


Level 6 – Degree Apprenticeships

Degree Apprenticeships (Level 6) are also available and are equivalent to a bachelor degree. However, the options within IT are currently fairly limited.

Types of apprenticeship


Choosing your IT apprenticeship

Once you’ve decided what level of apprenticeship to pursue, it’s time to decide what programme you want to take on. IT is a massive industry covering a wide variety of roles and technologies.

Whichever area of IT you’re interested in, there will be an apprenticeship programme available to give you a rewarding career.


Software Development

A Software Development Apprenticeship is ideal if you want to join a software development team and learn to build and test web, mobile or desktop applications.

Apprentices can start by taking on the Level 3 Software Development Technician before further specialising their knowledge with the Level 4 Software Developer or Level 4 Software Tester programmes.

An apprenticeship in software development is a brilliant foundation for a career in programming, application development, games development.


IT Support

IT Support Apprentices become valuable assets, learning to provide technical IT support to their businesses.

Support and infrastructure roles could see you working across multiple offices or taking control of computers remotely to quickly fix critical issues for your colleagues or clients.


Networking and Cloud

Apprentice Network Engineers are responsible for implementing support and developing the networks that allow businesses to share the data they need to operate.

Networking apprenticeships are also a great way to learn more about cloud technology – where programs, services and platforms are stored online rather than on a computer hard drive.


Data Analytics and Big Data

Professionals that can tap into the limitless power of data can expect a rewarding career in Big Data.

The Level 4 Data Analyst Apprenticeship will teach you how to support businesses by collecting, analysing and managing data to provide valuable insights. You’ll be using your mastery of analytics to speed up businesses and visualise data in ingenious ways.

A Data Analytics apprenticeship could even lead to a career as a Data Scientist.


Cyber Security

You’re more likely to be a victim of cybercrime than any other crime in the UK.

For businesses, poor cyber security costs businesses millions of pounds when their networks, data or systems are breached by malicious hackers.

However, cyber security is still a relatively young industry and a lack of security skills in the market has resulted in a massive demand for knowledgeable professionals.

Breaking into this exciting industry is possible through a Cyber Security Apprenticeship, such as the Level 4 Cyber Security Intrusion Analyst or the Level 4 Cyber Security Technologist.

These apprenticeships focus on giving you the skills needed to protect businesses by detecting breaches, monitoring networks and responding to hacks in progress.


Sales and Digital Marketing

It goes without saying that businesses must sell their products in order to survive.

To do this, they need technically-savvy employees who are also passionate salespeople. On an IT Technical Salesperson Apprenticeship, you’ll experience working with clients, winning new business and ultimately become an expert in your employee’s industry.

Alternatively, if you’re interested in marketing, have a head for statistics and the creative flair to plan brilliant marketing campaigns, consider the Level 3 Digital Marketer Apprenticeship.

On this apprenticeship, you’ll learn how to build and implement digital marketing campaigns across email, paid search, SEO and social media.


After your apprenticeship

After you’ve completed your apprenticeship there’s a good chance your employer will keep you employed (or get you onto the next level of apprenticeship).

Why? Well, you’ll have learnt to work within their industry, using their technologies and become an integral part of the team – so they’ll rarely let you go easily.

But even if you don’t get kept on, the qualifications and experience you gain during your apprenticeship are of undeniable value when searching for your next job.

You’ll have added real, quantifiable value to your CV, allowing your CV to easily stand out above the competition.

Why choose an apprenticeship?

Seven reasons you should start an apprenticeship



Ready to get started? Find your perfect IT apprenticeship with Firebrand Training today.


learning-peopleFirebrand Training are one of the UK’s leading providers of IT Apprenticeships, offering opportunities in everything from Networking and Cyber Security, through to Big Data, Marketing and Sales.