QA Apprenticeships crowned Microsoft Partner of the Year

QA Apprenticeships wins Microsoft Partner of the Year as the software giant announces its best apprentice of 2013

QA Apprenticeships has introduced 1,500 new IT professionals to the industry via its Microsoft apprenticeships.

Responsible for 80% of Microsoft apprenticeship programmes, the training firm has been awarded Microsoft UK Partner of the Year, in addition to receiving a special commendation.

“To train, certify and place 1,500 young Microsoft IT professionals into jobs within the UK economy is an incredible achievement," said Janet Gibbons, partner strategy and programme director for Microsoft UK. 

“In today’s competitive employment environment, it is great to see so many young people having the opportunity to become a Microsoft-certified professional and enter the workforce with practical expertise that helps address the UK IT skills shortage,” she added.

The awards attracted 3,000 entrants from 100 countries. John Roskill, corporate vice-president of Microsoft’s worldwide partner group, explained why QA was chosen: “As a finalist, QA demonstrated significant customer impact, innovation, speed to market and utilisation of advanced features in Microsoft technologies over the last year. It joins a group of influential and inspiring leaders.”

Ben Pike, director of QA Apprenticeships, said: “These awards add another proud achievement to QA Apprenticeships’ rewarding relationship with Microsoft.

“The partnership to develop and deliver a programme that meets the needs of Microsoft partners is clearly making an impact on businesses across the UK, as well as winning the praise of both David Cameron and Alistair Salmond, among others, over the last 12 months. We hope to see our partnership keep building on this success.”

Microsoft announces apprenticeship of the year

Jamie Sauvarin, from Microsoft SharePoint Gold partner BrightStarr Ltd in Eashing, Surrey, was recently chosen as Microsoft’s 2013 Apprentice of the Year.

Sauvarin (pictured) was chosen from hundreds of apprentices working at Microsoft and its partner businesses. He was presented his awards by the Minister of State for Employment, Mark Hoban MP, at a ceremony at the House of Commons.

On his win, Sauvarin said: “I’ve really enjoyed my time at BrightStarr so far and I’m so happy to have won this award. My apprenticeship has made me even keener to work in IT and has given me a chance to get the skills I need to do that. I would like to say thank you to Microsoft and BrightStarr for giving me this opportunity.”

Hugh Milward, director of corporate affairs at Microsoft, said: “These awards recognise [Microsoft apprentices'] hard work, determination and achievements so far, which will stand them in good stead for a successful career in IT and will help maintain the talent pipeline we have in the UK.”

Mark Hoban MP, minister of state for employment, said: “This government is committed to ensuring our young people are given the best chance to get on in life – that's why we set up the Youth Contract, a scheme that will offer 500,000 opportunities to young people over three years. 

"For the scheme to work, we rely on businesses like Microsoft opening their doors to aspirational young people; giving them the opportunity to gain the skills and training they need to get into work.

“It’s great to celebrate the achievements of these apprentices at a very exciting time in their careers.”

Microsoft’s apprenticeship programme is part of the software giant’s Get On programme, which aims to get 300,000 British 16-24-year olds into work by 2015.

More women apprentices needed

In further news, more women apprentices are needed in the IT industry, according to Scott Fletcher, chairman and founder of ANS Group.

“Private companies are beginning to take the lead in providing skills training, and they should seize the opportunity to provide more apprenticeships for women in male-dominated sectors. This is particularly true in the IT industry,” he said.

“Providing on-the-job apprenticeship training is every bit as vital as finding tech and science graduates. We find time and time again that young people aren’t leaving school with the skills they need to begin a career in the tech industry,” said Fletcher.

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