How New Signature Developed Microsoft Azure and Office365 Skills Fast Through Apprenticeships

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New Signature is a cloud-first, full-service Microsoft Gold partner delivering innovative technology solutions. With a workforce of over 400 permanent employees, New Signature hires Firebrand apprentices to support their Azure and Office365 skills strategy.

New Signature’s relationship with Firebrand started in 2015 when they implemented Azure and provided managed services for Firebrand’s cloud environment. The ongoing relationship - initiated through the Microsoft Partner Network - gives New Signature and Firebrand a strong mutual understanding of their Microsoft expertise and competencies.

Closing the Microsoft Azure and Office365 skills shortage with Apprenticeships

New Signature’s vision for apprentice skills development in 2017 was to “train people in the specific areas and technologies” and to grow their team “without excessive costs”, says Darren Taylor, Director of Service Design at New Signature.

One of the key drivers for their apprenticeship programme was to make sure it addressed the Microsoft Azure and Office365 skills demands for the organisations New Signature deliver services to. To do this, they worked with Firebrand to build bespoke Azure Apprenticeship programmes as a solution to develop in-house skills faster through award-winning accelerated training and certifications.

Opportunities from the Apprenticeship Levy

New Signature started to learn quickly how apprentices could play a key role in their workforce development when they started paying the Apprenticeship Levy in 2017.

“It has given us the opportunity to think and invest in our first ever two apprentices, which is so successful we need another two to join us,” says Carolyn Deer, HR Manager at New Signature.

The scale of New Signature’s growth means they need to support their teams with a strong, diverse talent pipeline addressing the skills demand of the markets they serve. To support this, New Signature are pledging to hire two more Firebrand apprentices in the next 12 months.

Hiring exceptional apprentice talent

To hire the right people for the job, Firebrand helped New Signature with their apprentice recruitment, giving them an extra level of expertise that resulted in hiring apprentices hungry to learn and develop themselves. Carolyn Deer, HR Manager explains, “when Darren and I interviewed them we were hugely impressed by their maturity, politeness and the fact they were passionate about joining us too.”

Securing a long-term apprenticeship strategy

Line Manager to New Signature’s apprentices, Darren Taylor is already seeing a long-term impact of apprentices Vwegba and Jonathan. Since starting in January 2018, they've taken quickly to “working within a busy team environment” and have developed a “good understanding of live cloud environments”, providing customers with additional resource to speed up projects and offer an extra level of support.

New Signature are setting an example for other Levy-payers hoping to develop their in-house skills, hoping to offer apprentices a full-time job after they complete to continue "developing their skills and career”.

We are passionate at New Signature in ensuring that we develop talent but just didn’t have the chance to do it! With the Levy, it has given us the opportunity to think and invest in our first ever two apprentices, which is so successful we need another two to join usCarolyn Deer, HR Manager at New Signature

Click here to learn more about upskilling your team through apprenticeships with Firebrand