IT Solutions Technician (Software)

Why a IT Solutions Technician (Software) Firebrand Apprenticeship?

Employers need IT Solutions Technician (Software) apprenticeships because...

  • Apprenticeships deliver the digital skills you need across your organisation. Whether it's hiring more skilled employees or improving the quality of existing staff's technical know-how, Firebrand’s apprenticeships bring new skills into the workplace quickly
  • Your people will engage with your business. Apprenticeships accelerate the speed and quality of key business projects by increasing the number of staff with skills to deliver them. Apprentices see they're making a difference, making them want to stay at their company for longer
  • Apprentices want to learn more. Your digital workforce need to be ready to keep up with the pace of technology change. A recent Government survey found 73% of digital apprentices plan to undertake further study within three years

Apprentices need IT Solutions Technician (Software) apprenticeships because...

  • You'll be ready for anything. IT apprenticeships teach and test the core skills that enable you to work effectively across a range of products. Once you've mastered the main concepts, you’ll extend your skills in current and future technologies used at work.
  • It makes you better at your job. Firebrand's programme helps you develop new knowledge about your job, gain new skills and embed new behaviours to help you make a greater contribution to your employer.
  • It's valued by your industry. More and more employers are recognising the value apprentices bring to their organisation. An apprenticeship badges you as a forward-thinking, highly skilled individual who is willing to keep learning - all key traits employers want to see in their digital staff

Firebrand's IT Solutions Technician (Software) apprenticeship delivers...

  • Industry-recognised quality. Our apprenticeships combine the core digital skills businesses need with the product knowledge learners want, giving apprentices a strong technical grounding and making them instantly productive
  • The skills you want. Customise programmes by adding product training and certification for apprentices to support business needs. Firebrand's programmes teach apprentices as much about successful application of systems as they do about mastering functionality
  • Great results. Firebrand's training delivers some of the best results in the sector - over 90% retention for the past two years, above-average pass rates across all standards and one-third of apprentices achieving Distinction (national average 21%).

Find out more about IT apprenticeships here

What is a IT Solutions Technician (Software) Firebrand Apprenticeship?

How will apprentices learn?

Firebrand's apprenticeship training is delivered through a combination of market-leading residential training, online learning and targeted support from our in-house subject experts:

Residential Training

A suite of Firebrand's proprietary training courses, delivered at our state-of-the-art facility in Wyboston Lakes, Bedfordshire. Courses cover all requirements of the knowledge modules for the standard, ensuring a strong grounding in the core skills of the role.

Once all knowledge exams are complete, apprentices will have the opportunity to undertake a course of their choice, providing additional depth of knowledge.

Personal Development, Behaviour and Attitudes

We support the personal development, behaviour and welfare of all apprentices through accredited online programme Impact. This video-led modular course will help apprentices develop their awareness and understanding of challenges they may encounter in the workplace and wider society. Learning content is linked to current events to provide real-world context. On completion of Impact, apprentices receive certification that contributes to their summative portfolio of evidence, showing how they have fulfilled key behavioural development criteria of the standard.


When not undertaking formal training, apprentices will be learning at work, applying their skills to business-specific projects and gaining a deeper appreciation of their role and business through off-the-job activity.

What's the process?

  • Onboarding activity – supported by our Enrolment and Administration Teams, apprentices and employers will undergo all necessary checks to ensure the apprentice can succeed on programme
  • First Day of Learning webinar – this online session, led by a Learning Mentor, outlines the apprentice's journey from initial meeting to End Point Assessment and the expectations of all parties involved
  • Learning Journey – the apprentice undertakes formal and informal learning over 13 months, covering, applying and recording all the competencies required to pass their apprenticeship. Residential training, online learning and Subject Matter Expert sessions will be spaced regularly, giving apprentices time to apply one skillset effectively before learning another. Progress is reviewed during formal sessions approximately every 10 weeks.
  • End Point Assessment – the final review, conducted by an independent body, of whether the apprentice has met all the competencies required to pass the standard. This includes a reference from the employer, portfolio of evidence, knowledge tests and final interview with an assessor. End Point Assessment activities are completed over approximately 12 weeks.

Who's on hand to help?

Firebrand provide wrap-round support to ensure apprentices' technical, learning and personal needs are met. Every apprentice is supported throughout their qualification by a Learning Mentor, a former industry professional who understands exactly what it's like to work in the sector and can advise on how to evidence the required knowledge, skills and behaviours through the work apprentices do every day. Our Course Instructors deliver residential training, while in-depth information on subject-specific topics and industry insight is provided by Subject Matter Experts.

What happens at the end?

An apprenticeship is a recognised benchmark of skills and knowledge that allows an apprentice to:

  • Acquire professional accreditation (e.g. BCS Register of IT Technicians (RITTech))
  • Continue their apprenticeship studies at a higher level
  • Undertake further professional training to develop additional product knowledge and skills. Visit Firebrand's commercial training pages for details of how our accelerated training could support life after an apprenticeship.

Become an IT apprentice employer now

Reviews of Firebrand Apprenticeships

Feedback shows our approach is delivering the tangible benefits outlined above for both employers and apprentices. We are proud to work with and receive great recognition from our customers. Today we're actively helping employers and apprentices acquire better skills, be more engaged and make clear contributions to their business outcomes.

Apprenticeships deliver new skills…

The best thing about my apprenticeship? Seeing the progression from how you were when you started. Working on the job, you’re gaining skills constantly – you look at how far you’ve come and what you can do now. Level 4 Software Developer apprentice

A real-world approach delivers results…

My first cohort delivered a presentation on their live project to a local MP who came in, and he was blown away by the work these apprentices were doing, given that some of them hadn't coded up until that point. This was quite early on in their apprenticeship, month 4 or 5. They had more confidence than more experienced employees and they had a much more natural pattern than other people who have been here years. That was a bit of a light bulb moment, seeing what they could achieveLine Manager, Transport for London

Hiring apprentices promotes retention…

With graduates, they come in sometimes and they just want to keep moving on to the next thing, gaining promotion after promotion. coming in at a younger age and gaining the skills within the team means he’s settled with us and hopefully we’ll get to keep him a lot longer. Team Manager, Lloyds Banking Group

Firebrand’s people know the industry inside out…

The instructors on the courses are all excellent and brilliant. They have so much experience behind them. Not only are you learning on the job, you’re listening to them and their personal experiences which are always so interesting. Level 3 Infrastructure Technician apprentice

Training for the industry is better than training to the minimum requirement…

I saw some of the work that came out of [my apprentice’s] Java course, which was very good; exactly what we needed from him. He probably picked up a few things that he won’t be using day to day, but it gives him that extra depth of knowledge which makes him more confident when he comes to use the technology. Line Manager, Lloyds Banking Group

Apprenticeships train engaged people with the right skills…

Ultimately, one of the big reasons we're doing apprenticeships is to home-grow the exact kind of person we want, with the exact kind of skills. The more effort you put in…the more likely you are to get the kind of person you know will then be able to go anywhere within your organisation. Line Manager, Transport for London

Daniel is currently on his level 4 Network Engineer apprenticeship with Firebrand, and is due to complete his programme in 2018:

IT Solutions Technician (Software) Overview

Apprentices with Firebrand develop into the role of an IT Software Solutions Technician, supporting the successful development, implementation and maintenance of complete IT solutions such as servers and networks (fixed or mobile)

Apprentices will be taught to apply a professional methodology or framework to gather and analyse requirements; to design, develop, test, and implement IT solutions and to provide ongoing support both directly to end users and for the underlying IT services.

Apprentices graduate their apprenticeship programme with the suitable skills, qualifications, experience and knowledge to work within motivated and multi-disciplinary teams. The specific tasks undertaken vary depending on what needs to be achieved by the team at any particular time. Some tasks may be very technical, others may be more analytical, business or user focused.

Successful IT Solutions Technician (Software) apprentices go on into roles such as IT Solutions Technician, Technical Analyst, Junior Support Analyst, IT Support Analyst, Systems Analyst, IT Technical Support, IT Systems Support Technician, Junior DevOps Professional, IT Service Desk or Technical Service Support (at 2nd, 3rd or 4th line support)

Technical Skills

Upon completion of their IT Software Solutions Technician apprenticeship, individuals will be able to:

  • Apply a professional methodology or framework in their work tasks.
  • Execute appropriate due diligence, including formal testing or validation
  • Apply a range of technical IT skills, including: accessing remote systems; file manipulation; file editing, changing system or application settings; system administration; setting up and upgrading components (infrastructure or software);
  • Operate in line with organisational polices, standards, legislation, security requirements, professional ethics, privacy and confidentiality; and understands escalation policies.
  • Create and maintains documentation in accordance with best practice, organisational guidance and legislation.
  • Identify appropriate technical solutions using both logical and creative thinking.
  • Diagnose and understands client requirements and problems using sound analytical and problem solving skills
  • Communicate effectively in a variety of situations including formal and informally both within their team and externally.
  • Operate securely across all their areas of responsibility, in line with organisational guidance and legislation
  • Work at any stage of the software solution lifecycle.
  • Undertake maintenance of a range of contemporary or legacy software solutions to required levels of service.
  • Install and configures software system components including virtualised components where appropriate.
  • Write or maintains simple scripts or code.
  • Be able to search and manipulate different types of data sources, including both structured and unstructured.

Technical Knowledge and Understanding

Upon completion of their IT Software Solutions Technician apprenticeship, individuals focusing on the technical side will be able to understand:

  • the stages within the overall solution lifecycle.
  • the main principals, features, differences and benefits of Waterfall and Agile type methodologies and the function of service management frameworks.
  • the aims and benefits of DevOps approaches; including the benefits of automation, the ideas behind continuous integration and monitoring.
  • the principles of Solution Architecture including the importance of re-use.
  • why testing is necessary, the need for both functional and non-functional testing, the different types of testing available, including unit testing, integration testing, user acceptance testing and performance testing.
  • planning and delivery within their role and how this contributes to the wider team and the organisation.
  • how the end-user context influences the solution.
  • the key features of, and where to find, organisational requirements in relation to policies, standards, legislation, professional ethics, privacy and confidentiality.
  • the main legislation, policies and standards that apply to IT solutions.
  • the concepts of networking including the ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) and TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) network stacks, Ethernet LANs (Local Area Networks), IP addressing, Port numbers, DNS (Domain Name System), DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol), and the principals of routing between LANs and WANs (Wide Area Networks).
  • the different types of network devices, routers and network switches, their relationship to the stack model and the use of firewalls.
  • the main components within an IT Solution including how hardware and software components work together
  • the main components of a computer system and their purpose, including servers, end-user computers, and mobile devices (both physical and virtual), user interfaces, CPUs, storage and connectivity.
  • the purpose of an Operating System.
  • the concepts of Cloud, Cloud Services and storage.
  • how their work contributes to business performance, continuity and resilience.
  • the main trends in emerging technologies - including the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, and automation - and the potential implications for digital activities.
  • the necessary numerical skills including Binary and Hexadecimal.
  • why cyber security is essential as part of the delivery of any solution
  • the importance of working securely and the main classifications of types of threats and common mitigation practices.
  • the meaning of risk in the context of security and can explain the relationship between levels of risk, impact, and designed level of protection in IT Solutions.
  • the role of configuration management and version control systems and when they should be used.
  • the concepts of virtualisation.
  • the use of different platforms (including web, mobile, or desktop applications).
  • the concepts of relational databases, non-relational structured and unstructured databases.
  • the concepts of solutions development to a given set of requirements, including the use of standard approaches for web and cloud-based solutions.
  • the benefits of and requirements for vendor support including commercial cloud offerings
  • the principles of Solution Architecture as applied to software.
  • why there is a need to follow good coding practices and have good coding standards.
  • the main categories of computer languages and the main features and benefits of each.
  • how to implement software solutions including simple programing to a given a set of requirements and how to connect code to data sources.
  • the purpose and usage of document mark-up languages including XML (extensible markup language) and html (hyper text markup language).
  • the use of relational databases, including tables, views, joins and indexes.
  • the use of Big Data environments for storage and analysis of non-relational structured and unstructured data the purpose of database normalization - organising the attributes and relations of a relational database to reduce data redundancy and improve data integrity.
  • how to develop, test and implement code following a logical approach.

Underpinning Skills, Attitudes and Behaviours

  • Works professionally and independently, taking responsibility and initiative as appropriate
  • Demonstrates standard business courtesies and professional ethics in how they work
  • Demonstrates a productive and organised approach to their work
  • Works effectively with customers, clients and users.

Level

This is a level 3 apprenticeship

Duration

The duration of this Firebrand apprenticeship is 16 months. Because this period involves both training and the final End Point Assessment (some of which must be carried out in the workplace), employers need to ensure the apprentice’s contract covers the full programme duration.

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What are the benefits of a IT Solutions Technician (Software) apprenticeship?

Firebrand’s digital apprenticeships deliver new skills while supporting both the individual and their employer. Benefit from award-winning training supported by on-going guidance along the way with digital apprenticeships that create valuable, long-lasting employees.

Benefits to employers

Improved retention rate - 69% of companies say digital apprenticeships improve retention*. Apprentices are completely engaged by employers, knowing they’re highly valued employees. Employees find themselves in a marketplace where their hard-won digital skills are highly valuable and in demand.

Always learning - 73% of digital apprentices expect to undertake further study within two to three years*. With increasing digital transformation, apprentices continue to master new technologies and processes. Having digital workers that are focused on developing their skills will better position businesses around new technologies, like updated cloud platforms.

Tailor your training - Get business-specific skills alongside apprenticeship requirements. The flexibility of Firebrand’s delivery allows employers to select training options that align most closely with the existing technology stack to work on current projects. Where applicable, employers can embed specific vendor products, like Microsoft, into apprenticeships to deliver a greater depth of learning.

Happier employees - Apprentices feel valued with their new digital skills. 78% of digital apprentices reported improved job satisfaction, job security and career prospects*.This satisfaction increases productivity and happiness in the workplace, benefitting employers by increasing employee engagement.

Networking and peer learning - Firebrand’s residential training centre delivers award-winning public courses to industry professionals. Learning takes place alongside individuals from different organisations with varying levels of experience. Apprentices benefit from receiving a valuable insight into how their skills are applied in different contexts.

Watch the video below to see how Firebrand's digital apprenticeships help employers hire and train current and future staff:



Benefits to apprentices

Real world skills - Apprentices benefit from learning up-to-date digital skills in a time of rapid digitalisation. They develop technical knowledge and industry insight through practical learning and real life application. Become an expert in different technologies and a valuable asset to the team.

Investment in your career - Digital apprenticeships are a career investment – with Firebrand you’re committing to the highest quality IT training. This investment is the first step toward a rewarding future with an employer as they commit time and money in the learner's skills development. Digital apprentices feel so valued in their workplace that 89% of them said that they want to stay at the same employer for the next two to three years*.

Learn while at work - An apprenticeship combines a full-time job with formal learning. New and existing staff can benefit from the opportunity to learn while continuing to work, getting new skills without having to study on evenings or weekends.

Support a career change - Digital apprenticeships provide the skills to move into new IT roles, giving more control of the learner's digital career path. Move seamlessly between roles in an organisation without experience of a particular field, or using experience of other digital roles in a related field.

Never forget again - Digital apprenticeships reinforce learning. They’re built on the principle of learning and immediately using skills that will help apprentices do their job better. Quality programmes incorporate structured training and project activity to apply and demonstrate new skills. 90% of regular learning is forgotten within 3 to 6 days, unless it’s regularly reinforced. Firebrand’s training style helps gain skills more quickly, retaining and using them more effectively.

Watch the video below to find out how digital apprenticeships with Firebrand can kickstart careers:


*according to the 2017 Apprenticeships Evaluation for the Department for Education

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IT Solutions Technician (Software)

Firebrand’s apprenticeship programme covers all mandatory knowledge and skills outlined in the apprenticeship standard. Every Firebrand apprentice attends a suite of market-leading training programmes, to cover knowledge required from the apprenticeship standard. This training is then fleshed out through a package of selected online learning, which also allows apprentices to explore any topics of particular interest/importance to them in greater depth.

How are apprentices taught?

Apprentices receive a range of market-leading training as part of their qualification – typically between three and five courses per apprenticeship - giving them fundamental skills at speed.

Firebrand uses a combination of award-winning vendor course delivery combined with additional custom content. This apprenticeship-specific delivery ensures apprentices learn the additional syllabus outlined in the standard in addition to industry-recognised curriculum.

The information below outlines the training curriculum delivered for each Knowledge Module through Firebrand's residential classroom-based training and online learning modules.


Knowledge and Understanding

Module 1: Using Computers

  • Common Computing Devices
  • Using a Workstation
  • Using an OS
  • Managing an OS
  • Troubleshooting and Support

Module 2: Using Apps and Databases

  • Using Data Types and Units
  • Using Apps
  • Programming and App Development
  • Using Databases

Module 3: Using Computer Hardware

  • Using Device Interfaces
  • Using Peripheral Devices
  • Using Storage Devices
  • Using File Systems

Module 4: Using Networks

  • Networking Concepts
  • Connecting to a Network
  • Secure Web Browsing
  • Using Shared Storage
  • Using Mobile Devices

Module 5: Security Concepts

  • Security Concerns
  • Using Best Practices
  • Using Access Controls
  • Behavioral Security Concepts

Module 6: Infrastructure

  • Cloud Fundamentals
  • Waterfall vs. Agile
  • DevOps

Module 1: Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming

Module 2: Understanding General Software Development

Module 3: Understanding Web Applications

Module 4: Understanding Desktop Applications

Module 5: Understanding Databases

Our EPA Test Prep course is designed to provide apprentices with practical exam strategies and guidance on how to approach the four Knowledge Tests in the IT Solutions Technician End Point Assessment. Apprentices develop their understanding of the key topics they will be assessed on and are given practical exam tips and advice.

Learning objectives:

Apprentices familiarised with the knowledge test requirements:

  • To develop understanding for Knowledge Unit 1 Methodologies and Principles (core)
  • To develop understanding for Knowledge Unit 2 Core Technical IT Knowledge (core)
  • To develop understanding for Knowledge Unit 3 Software Option (option 1)
  • To develop understanding for Knowledge Unit 4 Security and Legislation (core)

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When do IT Solutions Technician (Software) apprentices train?

Firebrand’s apprenticeship programmes are based around a core suite of residential training programmes delivering fundamental knowledge and skills to support on-the-job activity. All training courses are held at our dedicated training centre in Wyboston Lakes, Bedfordshire.

Basing delivery around our public training schedule allows Firebrand to offer apprenticeship delivery on an open cohort basis. However, where an employer can provide enough apprentices to form a closed cohort (typically between 8 and 15 apprentices per cohort) we can schedule closed-cohort training at our delivery centre. We run both open- and closed-cohort training for current employers; the delivery option selected depends on business needs, in terms of both required skills and operational logistics.

Below we've listed the course dates for the training delivered at Firebrand's training centre against this programme.

When

Start

Finish

Days

Status

Finished

Open

Start

Finish

Days

Status

Finished

Finished

Running

Limited availability

Open

Open

Open

Open

Open

Start

Finish

Status

24/2/2020 (Monday)

26/2/2020 (Wednesday)

Finished

29/6/2020 (Monday)

1/7/2020 (Wednesday)

Wait list

10/8/2020 (Monday)

12/8/2020 (Wednesday)

Limited availability

21/9/2020 (Monday)

23/9/2020 (Wednesday)

Open

2/11/2020 (Monday)

4/11/2020 (Wednesday)

Open

14/12/2020 (Monday)

16/12/2020 (Wednesday)

Open

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Who can enroll on a IT Solutions Technician (Software) apprenticeship?

Is there an upper age limit for someone that wants to go on an apprenticeship programme?

Individuals can enrol as long as they’re over 16 - there’s no upper age limit. With a desire to learn and a real interest in IT, Firebrand will teach individuals everything else they need to know to succeed.

What's the minimum educational criteria for entry onto Firebrand's apprenticeship programme?

We don't set specific educational criteria - all our programmes are designed to upskill individuals with no prior experience. We only require apprentices to pass the Functional Skills diagnostic prior to enrolling on the programme (see below).

It's up to an employer whether they wish to specify any particular qualifications or experience (such as GCSEs or a relevant lower-level apprenticeship) as part of their application process.

I have someone that I want to put on an apprenticeship but they have no GCSEs in English and Maths. Can they still enrol on an apprenticeship programme?

Individuals can enrol on an apprenticeship without GCSEs. However, they will be required to pass a Level 2 Functional Skills assessment in both English and Maths as part of their apprenticeship.

During enrolment, we'll ask apprentices to take an online test to determine whether they meet Level 2 standards in English and Maths, before they start the programme. As long as they reach this standard, they can begin the programme. Our Functional Skills tutor will work with them to ensure they pass the exams during the first months of their apprenticeship.

My potential apprentice has an IT based degree. Are they eligible?

Possibly. We look at every case individually to see whether an individual's previous learning makes them suitable for an apprenticeship. In most cases, as long as there is clear evidence that an individual requires the skills to do their job and has not received previous training in most of those specified, then they are eligible. Even where an individual has some of the skills required, we may be able to adjust the programme (and the price) so they can get the training they need.

However, as apprenticeships are intended for individuals who need to learn skills from scratch, Firebrand’s digital programmes may not be suitable if candidates have extensive qualifications or work experience that cover the skills to be taught in the programme.

My apprentice doesn't want to learn through residential training. Can we still use Firebrand as a provider?

Not really. Our residential training courses are absolutely fundamental to our apprenticeships - this is when apprentices get the knowledge and skills they need to pass exams that show they've met the requirements of the apprenticeship. The supporting training we offer helps to prepare for these courses, but doesn't deliver the full spectrum of learning.

Over 20 years of residential delivery, we've consistently seen the benefits of professionals being able to acquire an entire skillset - and take their exam - in one out-of-office period. The immersive, no-distractions approach really allows them to focus on their learning, rather than feeling they're being called away from the day job. They take exams with the knowledge still 'fresh' and return to work with all the skills they need to progress.

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How much does a IT Solutions Technician (Software) apprenticeship cost?

The total cost of this apprenticeship programme is £13,000. How much you pay as an employer will depend on whether your business pays into the Apprenticeship Levy. Read below for to learn more about how apprenticeships are paid for.

What does this cost include?

The breadth and depth of our course content means we deliver knowledge beyond the standard for every apprentice.

Training costs include:

  • A suite of residential training programmes delivered by our skilled Course Instructors
  • First attempts at all examinations required as part of the apprenticeship (plus second attempts at BCS examinations)
  • Online learning from Pluralsight, offering over 3000 video-based courses led by industry experts
  • Continuous support, guidance and advice from your Learning Mentor to help apprentices progress effectively
  • Where applicable, additional classroom training from a menu of vendor courses to broaden apprentices' knowledge and skills even further

Don't see the course you want included in the apprenticeship programme?

We can use our portfolio of over 600 vendor courses to tailor training for larger cohorts of apprentices, including a substantial discount for additional courses. Contact us to find out how we can deliver more value through a bespoke apprenticeship training package.

Are employers or apprentices charged for the accommodation at Firebrand's residential training centre?

There's no additional charge for accommodation and food provided as part of our residential training delivery.

How is the apprenticeship paid for?

Employers with an annual paybill over £3million can finance this training through the Apprenticeship Levy. The diagram below shows how the Levy is calculated:

For employers with an annual paybill under £3million, the government pay 95% of the total training costs, with the employer paying 5% of the total apprenticeship fee.

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How are IT Solutions Technician (Software) apprentices assessed?

An End Point Assessment (EPA) is the final step in the apprenticeship journey. Each apprentice is assessed by an independent organisation, who checks the individual can demonstrate all the knowledge, skills and behaviours required by their apprenticeship standard.

What happens during EPA?

Before EPA, apprentices enter a 'Gateway' period, where Firebrand's Learning Mentor will work with the employer, the apprentice and our Quality Team to judge whether the apprentice has fully met all requirements of the standard. After that, they will formally enter the EPA process and complete all the elements for that standard. The full EPA takes around 12 weeks to complete.

EPA elements vary slightly between digital standards, but all include a combination of the following:

Summative Portfolio

Apprentices collect evidence of how they have applied the knowledge, skills and behaviours learned during training as part of their job. This evidence is uploaded to their OneFile account, and monitored by their Learning Mentor and the Quality Team to ensure it is comprehensive and relevant. This evidence - the Summative Portfolio - is submitted to demonstrate their professional development over time. Summative Portfolio evidence can be written, image-based, audio or video – whatever medium helps apprentices get the point across best. Every apprentice's Summative Portfolio will include a series of projects, longer-form pieces of evidence showing how multiple skills have been used on a particular piece of work. 

Synoptic Project

This is an extended, specific project task set by the EPA organisation, which is designed to allow apprentices to use a variety of skills to achieve a relevant solution to a previously unknown problem. Apprentices select their project from a shortlist of options. Synoptic projects ('synoptic' just means 'providing a general summary') last for approximately 40 hours, and must be completed in the workplace under supervised conditions. This allows assessors to 'benchmark' apprentices from different companies and in different jobs within a similar context.

Case Study Presentation

Instead of the Synoptic Project, some standards include a Case Study to help assessors make consistent judgements. As for the Synoptic Project, EPA organisations set a shortlist of possible titles, from which apprentices choose one for further development. They have 20 hours to complete the case study, before delivering the results of their work as a 20-minute presentation to an EPA assessor. The presentation includes a question-and-answer session on the apprentice's approach and methods. 

Knowledge Tests

Some standards don't include knowledge exams or certifications as part of the training requirements. Instead, apprentices' knowledge is assessed through a series of multiple-choice tests during EPA, which align to each of the modules they complete. For these standards, Firebrand's training programme includes a residential preparation course, when apprentices will go through the test format, revise knowledge topics and gain practice before taking the final knowledge tests.

Employer reference

This extended document is created by the apprentice's employer mentor, and explains how (in their view) the apprentice has met all the required competencies of the standard through the work they do. Firebrand Learning Mentors will provide a template and regular guidance on completing this document, so it becomes an ongoing record rather than a last-minute summary. The finished document should demonstrate the apprentice's value to the employer - a crucial element in deciding how effectively they've achieved the goals of the apprenticeship.

Interview

The final element is a one-to-one interview between the apprentice and the EPA assessor, usually conducted remotely. The assessor will ask the apprentice about the work in their Summative Portfolio and their approach to completing the Synoptic Project/Case Study. 

Who delivers our End Point Assessments?

The British Computer Society (BCS) assesses all Firebrand apprentices - it's the Chartered Institute for IT and the professional body for the digital industries.

RITTech registration

All successful apprentices appear on the BCS Professional Register for IT Technicians (RITTech) free of charge, and are entitled to use the RITTech letters after their name.

RITTech is recognised by employers and recruiters, demonstrating a higher level of skills and professionalism across digital and technology industries. RITTech is only awarded to people working at SFIA Level 3 or above standard.

Source: British Computer Society

Find out more about the End Point Assessment (EPA).

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What does a IT Solutions Technician (Software) apprentice's journey look like?

Employers should know what’s happening at every step of the apprenticeship. That’s why Firebrand have identified how their employees learn and at which point they’ll get to apply their new digital skills.

How does Firebrand support learning?

Firebrand includes residential training, online training and plenty of work-based support from a dedicated Learning Mentor. Residential and online training is spaced throughout the programme to ensure the apprentice has time to learn and apply skills before moving onto something new.

How do I ensure my employees are always learning?

Firebrand schedules training carefully so that the learner gains skills they can use immediately at work. Residential courses happen from month 3 and are usually an average of 2 months apart. In between, there’s online learning and Learning Mentors activities (e.g. behavioural modules, Functional Skills). All apprentices complete several work-based projects for their portfolio. Learning Mentors support them with writing up each project over a 12-week period.

Help along the way

There are three main sets of people who support apprentices – Firebrand’s Learning Mentors, Course Instructors and Subject Matter Experts. All of them have different responsibilities, but the benefit of Firebrand’s model is that apprentices get really good technical expertise, plus strong guidance on how to complete their apprenticeship successfully.

Apprentices meet their Learning Mentors on the first day and discuss the full apprentice programme in depth. The Learning Mentors begin understanding the learner’s personal approach, level of knowledge and learning style.

Learning Mentors help if the learner is stuck on something. They use their industry experience to guide apprentices in the right direction, helping them solve tasks from a different perspective. While also providing support, Learning Mentors check to see if the required standards are being met when completing work-based projects.

Learning with Firebrand

Apprenticeships combine a full-time job with formal learning. Firebrand’s formal training includes between three and five specialist IT courses. These courses are decided by the employer during the on-boarding process.

When apprentices are on a Firebrand course, they’ll be in Wyboston Lakes, Bedfordshire at Firebrand’s all-inclusive training centre. They’ll receive accommodation, food and a free shuttle bus from the train station. They then return to work and apply what they’ve learnt, tailoring new knowledge to their organisation’s technologies.

Coming to the end

As apprentices reach the end of the apprenticeship, Firebrand’s Learning Mentors will help them get ready for the EPA.

See the End Point Assessment (EPA) section for more information.

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How do IT Solutions Technician (Software) apprentices progress?

The pace of digital transformation means there’s always going to be new technologies and smarter processes in businesses.

Progress to the next level and learn even more new digital skills. Progression is a natural step in the IT industry and it keeps employee's skills refreshed.

Develop and reinforce technical knowledge by advancing to a higher-level apprenticeship or training on Firebrand’s public courses. Gain certifications on public courses from vendors like Microsoft, AWS and CompTIA.

Level 3

For apprentices at the end of their Level 3 apprenticeship, advancing to Level 4 is the next natural step. Learn further digital skills while in a more specific IT related role. Specialised Level 4 roles include being a Data Analyst, Cyber Security Technologist or Network Engineer.

Rather than just understanding an organisation’s technologies, learn to master them. Level 4 apprentices apply previous skills with new technical knowledge to gain greater responsibility in a digital role.

Take a look at our Level 4 apprenticeships to continue developing your IT career.

Level 4

After a Level 4 apprenticeship, apprentices can enhance certain specific skillsets and gain further product knowledge by taking Firebrand’s public courses. Public courses are the best option after successfully completing a Level 4 qualification. They align individual courses with desired IT skills.

There’s no limit to the number courses that apprentices can take. Continue learning with Firebrand and gain the certifications needed to move into top IT roles at twice the speed. Continue building a professional career in the right way with recognised industry qualifications

Start choosing certifications from over 700 public training courses.

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Call us to discuss your Firebrand Apprenticeship Now
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