QA | 5 June 2013

Nominations for the Microsoft Apprentice of the Year award 2013.

Apprentice - You're hired!

I usually write my Blog based around what QA Apprenticeships  can do for your business, what qualifications we can offer and the skills we develop in the young people that come through the doors.

Recently some of the apprentices from the Newcastle centre have been nominated for the Microsoft Apprentice of the Year award 2013.

Two of the apprentices work for   Homes & Community Agency at Gateshead.

What these apprentices have achieved they have done in the first 6 months of the programme. They are in advance of what is required so QA Apprenticeships and Homes & Community have given them the chance to go for a higher level Microsoft qualifications to add on to the sterling portfolio of work they have already achieved.

I will hold my hands up to say the greater percentage of the rest of this blog is plagiarised from Tina Hughes - Head of IT Service Delivery at Homes & Community (with her permission of course!).

Tina has taken on the role of Lord Sugar and hired some apprentices with the help of QA Apprenticeships.

Who did you hire and what are they doing?

"Kieran and Daniel joined our team in October last year. Since then they've alternated spending their time doing coursework and exams at the  QA Newcastle centre and working at the HCA offices."

"Being mentored by our network architects Clive D'Souza and Andrew Critchlow means they have been able to work on a number of projects, including the home wi-fi rollout, building file servers and staffing  the service desk. They've got one more week doing coursework and final exams, and then they'll be with us full time until October."

This is a great opportunity to help them develop their skills and prepare them for longer term employment.

"After completing their GCSEs both Kieran and Daniel started 6th form but neither of them enjoyed it, they both wanted to do something more practical. They worked with QA Apprentices who helped them find their all important first role at the HCA."


"Kieran is enthusiastic about technology and follows a methodical approach to learning. Kieran is a fast learner and has proven himself in completing tasks to a high standard with attention to detail. Kieran has demonstrated communication skills to assist with liaising with different parts of the business."

"Kieran's duties have involved resolving service desk incidents, WAP, network switch and windows server installations & configurations. These skills have been certified by formal qualifications. Microsoft MTA Server, Networking, Security and Windows 7 Configuration ."

"HCA have given Kieran hands on IT experience with market leading technologies and Kieran will continue to learn throughout this programme alongside the HCA's IT projects, putting Kieran in an excellent position."

"Kieran's professionalism and ability to troubleshoot complex scenarios has made it an easy decision to nominate him for this award. Kieran goes above and beyond his apprenticeship to learn and improve himself within the industry as well as keeping a good social life. Kieran enjoys magic tricks and you can find him entertaining staff members in his spare time."

Keiran adds:

"It's hard work, but I prefer it to school! We're doing lots of coursework and exams. We're getting Microsoft qualifications and learning how to deal with customers."

"I've enjoyed the time I spent on the service desk, I like dealing with people and helping them out. When I came I wanted to try everything and find out what I liked best. It has really helped me work out what direction I want to go in."


"Daniel has proven himself a keen and diligent member of the team. His daily activities include responding to service desk queries, configuring switches, WAPs, servers, SAN's and workstations as well as building a virtual test environment and completing inventory."

"This is a considerable achievement taking into account the steep learning curve involved in technical training."

"Daniel also passed his formal examinations: Microsoft MTA for Server, Networking and Security . Once again, he is going above and beyond and will sit the Windows 7 Configuration exam which is being pursued out of a genuine interest to gain more skills and knowledge."

"This programme has offered huge benefit to the HCA during the recent economic downturn and subsequent government freeze. Employing Daniel has helped to move ahead with IT projects within our IT strategy."

"Daniel has developed problem solving skills and his positive attitude, enthusiasm and professional appearance lend to the quality of his work and working relationship development. With this in mind, I would not hesitate to nominate Daniel for his continued effort and the quality of work produced."

Daniel says:

"I really enjoyed working on the rollout of the wi-fi access points. We were so busy getting them out, then I had to teach the service desk how to use them and set them up. I'd never done anything like that before. It's great learning new stuff. "

So a nice snapshot of what is achievable on a QA Apprentice programme - which is ever expanding as QA are starting new apprentice programmes all the time.

I also would like to wish both Kieran and Daniel good luck at the awards!


Richard Froud is an IT tutor for QA Apprenticeships.

QA Apprenticeships is a market leading provider of IT and business services apprenticeships.  In the last year QA has created, filled and trained over 1000 apprenticeship jobs for the UK's young people. Our apprenticeships include IT systems and networking, software and web development, business and administration, professional sales and project management.  Among the QA Apprenticeships employer partners are British Gas, BSkyB, Capgemini , Cisco and Capita.

Readers interested in QA Apprenticeships can contact the recruitment team on 0845 074 7825, or visit

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