Case Study – Matthew Butcher Level 4 Cyber Security Apprentice #Apprenticeship #ITApprenticeship #Basildon #Essex

By Toni Marshall, Youth Programmes Manager at ITEC

Matthew Butcher started with ITEC as a Study Programme learner who went on to complete his Level 2 IT Professional Apprenticeship gaining his MTA Networking Fundamentals, MTA Server Administration and CompTIA A+ qualifications. He then went on to complete his Level 3 IT Professional Apprenticeship gaining his Network+ and MSCA Qualifications and is now currently completing his Level 4 Cyber Security Apprenticeship. I caught up with Matthew to pick his brain as to why he chose the apprenticeship route and if he thought it was the right choice.


Matt Butcher with Toni and Darko October 2018

Matthew Butcher, centre, with ITEC’s Technical Trainer, Darko, and me 

Did you choose to come to ITEC, over going to college?

No, I did go to college to get my A levels. However, I didn’t study IT so I applied to do an apprenticeship at ITEC even though I didn’t have much experience in IT.  I got a call asking if I would like to take part in ITEC’s study programme, which would then give me the qualifications to do an apprenticeship with ITEC, and then once the course was completed my CV would be sent out to employers to help me get an apprenticeship. I attended an open day where I got to talk to all of the trainers at ITEC and they seemed really knowledgeable, so I decided to give it a shot – and I haven’t looked back!

What advantages do you feel you have now over someone that would have done IT at college then gone off to University and got a degree in Computer Science? Do you feel that you have more advantage over somebody who has done that?

I definitely feel I’ve got a lot more real-world experience than they tend to give you at University.  University is more theory-based.  The study I have done and skills I have learnt here at ITEC are much more work-based, so the Microsoft, CompTIA and Huawei qualifications I’m doing are real-world situations rather than the simulated world in exams and qualifications the universities tend to offer.  I’ve gained a lot of experience working with my boss that I don’t think I would have gained if I had gone to University. When things don’t go right in the real world within IT I know how to fix the problems as I have learned about them in a live environment, whereas someone who has been to University will only know the theoretical side, which isn’t always the way things go on a real system. I didn’t want to go to University to get into debt and get a degree which potentially doesn’t prepare you for the real world of work when you do try for a job. For the IT that I do, a degree in Computer Science wouldn’t really stand out as it is too vague. Whereas with the Apprenticeships you don’t have the worry about any debt, you get what you learn and you get paid too

You started on the Study Programme, level 2, level 3 now coming into your level 4. What is the thing that you’ve enjoyed the most?

All of the Technical Side, building up to what I’m doing now. Obviously, I wouldn’t be able to do the Huawei qualifications that I’m doing now without the background learning I have done because it wouldn’t make any sense at all. So, it’s been good getting all of the knowledge and building up to it and the support from the technical trainers has been fantastic.

Where do you feel that ITEC was there for support to bridge the gap between leaving school and going to work? Do you feel you got support around that?

Yes, I would say the most support came from the beginning. It was a harder transition as I had never done any IT before and I didn’t have any experience. Doing the Study Programme with Andrew and Stuart gave me all of the fundamentals and basics, and, as I didn’t know much, it was a good place to start.  I did find the reviews helped highlight areas with myself that still needed developing. For example, the IT Trainer would write on the review that I needed help in a specific area then I would know that I needed to improve and I knew what I needed to focus on and could work on it with the trainers.

 Tell me about a typical day at Cyberdan.

Anything goes!  You come in one morning and it can be completely quiet all day.  You come in the next day and the phones are ringing off the hook.  The general stuff that we do throughout the day is supporting clients and doing monitoring checks in the background to keep their IT systems healthy.  You carry out a review of the client backups, making sure they’ve all come in properly and, if they haven’t you, remedy them. First remedy, then investigate, that’s our policy.  Usually, they go hand in hand but sometimes, it’s as simple as the backup being larger than usual and timing out before it can send.  We then check the intranet. We have a job section on our intranet, which generally for me is client health checks – these can take anything from a few minutes to a few hours. We are always learning stuff about the benefits and restrictions of various Operating Systems like Linux during our downtime and seeing how we can practically use them to make our lives easier and to help the clients keep their systems running. Obviously, clients come first above all.

What is a typical issue that comes up?

A typical issue at the moment is that we have a client who runs a slightly older version of Oracle that has a bug where the memory fails to clear down when the contents are no longer needed by Oracle. This has caused their shared memory to fill up and means that their server will fall over regularly now that we have entered the busy period.  To remedy this, we monitor their shared memory and when it gets to around 80% full we will schedule some downtime with them to do a restart on their database to clear the memory down. We are in talks with them to get a patch to fix this, however, we are against doing this during their busiest time of the year as we are wary of introducing new bugs or issues. At this point, it’s better the devil you know!

What is something that you have learned at ITEC then when you have gone back to work it has been really valuable?

I would say Networking; We’ve had a couple of issues with client DNS which is covered under the networking courses and has made diagnosing these issues so much easier.

How did you feel holding a job down as well as trying to do day release? How did you balance it?

Quite easily. Dan is very supportive, whenever I need to do a day at ITEC he says ‘just put it in the diary, don’t worry about work and go to college and get your work done’.  If I need to finish any more college work at work then that’s fine so long as the clients are taken care of.

We have seen you start ITEC as a young man and now its years down the line and completing a level 4 apprenticeship. You have obviously seen yourself grow within this time and your knowledge and skills have developed, so where do you see yourself in five to six years’ time?

Working in Cyber Security, that’s where I have wanted to be almost since I started my apprenticeship. Hacking and security are very interesting to me and where I would like to end up as the scope for it is huge (user training, system vulnerabilities, different types of attacks etc.). I’m currently doing the Cyber Security apprenticeship and Dan has said if I find any other training that’s reasonably affordable I can get on that too.

Would you recommend ITEC to other young people considering an Apprenticeship as an alternative to College or University?

I would. The technical training is really the best around compared to other places that I’ve seen as they don’t offer nearly as much with the amount of support ITEC does. You get a longer time period too to complete the training, like Network + you get around 13 weeks whereas other places you only get 5 weeks. You learn at a good pace it’s not rushed and Darko really knows how to effectively teach the course material. I think it is the best place to be for training as a technical apprentice.

Matthew was interviewed by ITEC’s Youth Programmes Manager, Toni Marshall.  To find out more about IT Apprenticeships at ITEC, contact Toni on 01268 286929


Caius inspires the next generation of ITEC Apprentices

An article on by Tom Allen on 25th July 2018 reports on work being done by Chelmsford City Council to connect employees to the PSN.   Ex-ITEC Apprentice, Caius Ajiz, who is the Council’s Ops Lead on this project, features heavily in the article and is clearing doing very well in his career as an IT Professional.


Caius Ajiz, Chelmsford City Council, with ITEC CEO, Wendy Vickers, accepting his Microsoft Apprentice of the Year Award in April 2014

The article goes on to say:

Councils in the UK are responsible for connecting employees to the Public Services Network (PSN), which helps public sector organisations work together and share resources. However, compliance is a major factor.

All local authorities in England and Wales need to follow the government’s Codes of Connection (CoCo), certifying that their security reaches a certain minimum level, before they can connect to and provide services over the PSN.

The four-strong infrastructure team of Chelmsford City Council, which is responsible for about 160,000 citizens, are in charge of maintaining PSN compliance and ensuring that the infrastructure remains secure. However, until recently they were relying on inefficient legacy spreadsheet-based processes, which involved gathering data from multiple sources before collating it into a single document.

“We were having to delve into various different systems to find out where we stood,” Ops Lead Caius Ajiz told Computing. “It involved a lot of manual processes and took a lot of time; we’d have multiple people constantly performing multiple tasks. We were using spreadsheets to keep track of these, and, as these were shared with various stakeholders, they tended to get buried in emails which proved very difficult to manage.”

The Council wanted to adopt a more modern process and after several technical trials, chose SureCloud. It is using the solution as an event manager, as well as for vulnerability and ASV scanning and API testing.

Using these applications, the Council has increased its network visibility and can now continually monitor security, making compliance easier to ensure. In addition, SureCloud carries out a full infrastructure assessment every year, to provide the external validation needed to show that the internal infrastructure is performing as required. All of this data is stored centrally within the SureCloud platform.

“Infrastructure assessment has become a critical part of the solution for us. Each year SureCloud performs an in-depth assessment of our infrastructure, which we can feed into the platform to monitor our progress against over the course of the year. This ensures that any red flags raised during the assessment are fully addressed in a timely manner,” Ajiz said.

He added, “In previous years it was nightmarish to manage vulnerabilities across the network and ensure we were continually meeting our compliance obligations. The SureCloud solution has streamlined these tasks, providing us with a single point of truth for us to refer to rather than having to gather information from multiple systems.”

Can Caius inspire you to join the next generation of IT Professionals whose career starts with an IT Apprenticeship at ITEC?




Toni at a local Careers Exhibition

Toni Marshall, ITEC’s Youth Programmes Manager, guest blog’s this month and tells us why Apprenticeships are such a great alternative to University #Apprenticeships #ITApprenticeship #Essex

Apprenticeships give aspiring professionals the real world experience they need to get the edge in the job market, and will show employers that you can hit the ground running! For many, the apprenticeship route is not such an obvious choice. But for those who are motivated to get started in the job market, an apprenticeship is an excellent way of gaining essential experience. Due to the lack of graduate jobs and an astronomical increase in university tuition fees, demand for apprenticeships has risen dramatically.


Unlike other opportunities, you are earning money at the same time as studying for your qualification. As an apprentice, you will work alongside experienced staff that will help you to develop job-specific skills and earn a wage at the same time. Although there is no set amount, employers are legally obliged to ensure you are paid at least the National Minimum Wage and many employers pay more. This may seem low to start with, but bear in mind that you aren’t yet fully qualified, and as you grow in experience, your pay will increase accordingly. Research also shows that an apprentice can earn almost £4,000 more than graduates per year in their first job. As an apprentice, you will also receive the same benefits as other employees, such as pension contributions and leisure facilities. You’ll also feel more stable and secure knowing there will be a pay cheque waiting for you at the end of each week or month.



A student leaving university will face anything between £30,000 and £60,000 of student loan debt, which they’ll have to start paying back as soon as they reach a reasonable salary. An apprenticeship doesn’t have to cost you a penny! Those who embark on an apprenticeship won’t be weighed down by tuition fees or debt by the time they graduate. In fact, your employer will be paying you to gain a qualification instead.

As an apprentice, the Government, together with your employer, covers the entire cost of your training. There aren’t any additional fees to pay, and you actually start earning a real salary straight away, rather than depending on borrowing money to complete your studies.


Apprenticeships are designed with the help of employers and offer a structured programme that coaches you through the skills you need to be successful. Employers can guide and train apprentices until they are a skilled and reliable part of the workforce, increasing the chances of them staying on with the business. You will learn from experienced professionals on the job, and will also be trained externally at ITEC. You will also be set targets to ensure that you are well-supported and that you are progressing at an appropriate pace. The modules you decide to study will provide you with the essential knowledge needed for your future career. If you impress during your apprenticeship, you could also gain a full-time position with the company. To have a foot in the industry at such an early stage in your career is massively beneficial, and could give you the basis to work your way up. In the future when you are looking to develop your career, you will have relevant experience to guide you forward. Employers tend to favour candidates with a year or two of experience, as well as qualifications. This means you’ll be a strong competitor when you decide to progress with your career.


Josh Barwick close up

ITEC Apprentice, Joshua Barwick, now works for as an IT Manager for a top hotel in London after he completed his Level 3 IT Professional Apprenticeship with Microsoft qualifications

It isn’t just practical skills and experience that you’ll gain during your apprenticeship you’ll also be able to back them up with a respected qualification. For some industries, these sector-specific certifications will be even more valuable than a gaining a relevant degree, and a much better indication that you’ll be able to hit the ground running. Even if you decide to move on to a completely different role, you’ll still have something to show for the time you’ve spent studying. As well as lots of relevant experience, employers will see that you have the drive and determination to complete your training and gain an award. This will put you in a strong position when you want to climb the career ladder.


ITEC offers a solid support network from the first day! You will be allocated an Assessor and a member of our review team who will be developing not only your professional skills but your personal skills too. With regular contact and review meetings, we will travel with you on your learning journey helping you overcome any barriers along the way. We pride ourselves on our way of doing things and with a 90% success rate that speaks for itself!


Those leaving university often suffer from a lack of solid work experience in the field they wish to pursue. With an apprenticeship under your belt, you’ll have between 1 and 2 years of experience to flaunt, automatically giving you a head start in the job hunting stakes. You’ll probably also have made some good contacts at your employer’s company. Remember the saying “It’s not what you know, but who you know”? This is particularly true when it comes to jobs, so make use of your networks to find out about upcoming opportunities. If you can get a foot in the door before a job has even been advertised, then great!

Need any more help, guidance or advice?  If yes, call me on 01268 286929 or email me at

ITEC Advert March 2018




ITEC supports Charity Golf day

One of our apprenticeship employer’s, Clear Thinking IT, held a Charity Golf day to raise money for the local ‘Wipe away those tears’ charity.   ITEC is happy to donate to such a worthy cause as part of its Corporate Social Policy.  So far this year, ITEC has donated to 3 very worthy causes; the 3 Cities Cycle Challenge for the MS Trust undertaken by Colin Beckett of Basildon, several charity half-marathons and 10K’s for Cancer Research by ITEC’s very own Kerry and her husband, Bob and this Charity Golf Day for ‘Wipe away those tears’.

Clearthinking logoHere Clear Thinking IT’s Communications Director, Joanne Oldham, gives us an overview of the day.

“Clear Thinking IT’s first annual charity golf day proved to be a super success in more ways than one. The beautiful Burstead Golf Club course & summer sunshine provided the perfect start, partnered with first-class team spirit.  The support we received from golfers & non-golfers alike resulted in refreshments from Colchester Travel on the 10th hole and donations from various local businesses such as Billericay Golf & Whole in 1 Golf that resulted in a very entertaining putting raffle & a wonderfully sociable evening. Including online donations from ITEC and other local businesses, friends & family, we raised £1,300 for the amazing local charity ‘Wipe Away Those Tears’. Within days they were approached with a request from the mother of an 18-month-old little girl living with a largely unknown & rare chromosome disorder. The support received from the golf day meant we could swiftly fulfil this mother’s request and purchase a much needed p-pod chair for this unique little girl to relax and play in, with funds left over to support other families too. Like the many other charity events that are organised, our little golf day was not only a day that brought laughter amongst the golfers, but a day that delivered a smile to this little girl for many days to come. Shall we do it again next year & raise even more? Yes, please, it is the least we can do.”

Read more about it and see the pics at:

Clearthinking golfers 2

The Charity Golfers at Burstead Golf Course, with Stuart Oldham from Clear Thinking IT (second from right) enjoying their game in the sunshine

Here is a link to the Just Giving Page

Thank you again for your kind donations, very much appreciated!

Kind Regards



Is B2B marketing dying in a post-GDPR world?

Has the fear of GDPR penalties made us all afraid of B2B Marketing?

Here at ITEC we are in the business of organising IT and Business Apprenticeships for local businesses but to do this we need to be able to contact them and talk to them.    We would like to make them aware of the availability of Government funding to help train their workforce, the courses and programmes we run that could help them train tomorrow’s workforce and the Government’s target of 3 million apprentices by 2020.

The usual email-shots and leaflet drops with follow-up calls have caused a bit of a stir this month.  Frequently, businesses are telling us that we can’t do this now because of GDPR.  Really?  We think the misconceptions about GDPR and its consequences seem to have frightened businesses away from B2B marketing.

Customer ServiceHow can businesses reach out to new customers?  How do you grow your business without B2B marketing?  How can businesses tell potential customers about their products and offers if we can’t contact them “without their permission”?  Well, we can!   We may have a ‘legitimate business interest’ for contacting them and do not need to rely on ‘permission’ to make initial contact.   Of course, they can then ask us to remove them from our list and not contact them in future, as this is their right, and we will honour that.

However, the GDPR was not put in place to prevent B2B marketing from happening.  It was put in place to give us more control over the personal data that is kept on us and how it is used.  It especially allows us, as individuals, to have our data deleted if we have a legitimate reason to request this and to ‘opt out’ of being contacted on a regular basis.  The GDPR was also put in place to stop all those nuisance calls at home, for instance, “have you been in a road accident recently?”  Grrrr….. our personal data cannot be sold to third parties as easily as before the GDPR and about time too!

We don’t profess to be GDPR experts but we have analysed the data we keep, documented the legal bases for keeping it and ensured that it will be deleted once it has past its ‘sell by date’.   In most cases, we keep personal data for contractual reasons and only share it with the legitimate contractors (in our case the Government Agency and the local funding organisation, usually one of the colleges).   We never sell personal data on to a third party, ever.

We do believe we have a legitimate business interest for B2B marketing and, as a business, you may be able to rely on this basis as well.  Check it out with the ICO, they are, after all, the experts.


Apprenticeships and Off-the-Job Training (the facts) #Apprenticeships #ITApprenticeships #Essex

Apprenticeships, by their very design, have always had elements of off-the-job training in some form or another but they are vocational courses and, as such, are predominantly on-the-job training.

Apprenticeship_Employers_BadgeWith the implementation of the Government reforms to Apprenticeships post-May 2017 there came the new ruling of mandatory 20% off-the-job training, bringing in a quantitative measure for training away from the day to day pressures of work.   For many employers and apprentices, it was business as usual, as day release to the training provider was part and parcel of the apprenticeship but for several others, it was a complete change in how their apprenticeship was going to work.  But what is off-the-job training?

  • Off-the-job training is defined as training received by the apprentice, during their normal working hours, for the purpose of achieving their apprenticeship.
  • It is NOT training delivered for the sole purpose of enabling the apprentice to perform the work for which they are employed.

However, 20% does not need to equate to 1 day a week at a training provider.  It can be delivered at different times within the programme, for example, it can be formed of intense specialised training at the start of an apprenticeship or pockets of blended learning delivered in the workplace at intervals throughout the programme.  To be successfully delivered, off-the-job training should be designed to meet the skills and knowledge needs of the apprentices and the business of the employers.

  • It must be directly relevant to the apprenticeship framework or standard, teaching new knowledge, skills and behaviours required to reach competence in a particular occupation.
  • It is time that is NOT spent as part of their normal working duties on the ‘productive job’.  To count it needs to be the case that apprentices are not undertaking normal day-to-day duties and their time is being spent in some form of training or development relevant to the outcomes of the apprenticeship.

The Government’s expectation is that off-the-job training is specifically designed to support the development of new behaviours, skills and knowledge linked to the actual vocational occupation.

However, when there is training, coaching and development provided for getting the apprentice up to speed with a task that will become part of their normal job and also teaches the knowledge, skills and behaviours required by the apprenticeship outcomes it can be classed as off-the-job training.  Induction in itself is not eligible as off-the-job-training but can be included where formal training is included within the induction sessions.

Some apprentices need to upskill in English and/or Maths to reach the standards required for the outcomes of the apprenticeship.  Where this is the case, the English and/or Maths training is in addition to the 20% off-the-job training.   The key principle being that apprentices who require English and Maths are not disadvantaged in the volume of vocational off-the-job training they receive compared to those apprentices not requiring English and/or Maths.

Apprenticeships MUST be completed within the apprentice’s paid hours.    This means that off-the-job training is a calculation within an apprentice’s annual hours of work.   This also means, where apprentices are required to attend off-the-job training outside of their working hours, the employer must compensate the apprentice with time off in lieu (TOIL) or similar arrangements.   This also means, where an apprentice is unable to attend a planned session of off-the-job training, they agree with their employer to catch up on the missed content of the programme and this must be within their working hours.

Here at ITEC, our Curriculum Manager, Kerry Prigg, will assist employers and apprentices with building an off-the-job training plan that meets the outcomes of each apprenticeship.   This means that a blended approach can be used meaning apprentices can attend day release sessions for our most common modules, e.g. CompTIA A+ or Microsoft’s MTA Network Fundamentals, plus on-line learning for individually selected vendor qualifications, e.g Cisco or Huawei, plus ad-hoc training workshops to build on the behaviours required in most modern jobs, e.g. customer service, communication skills, project management, etc.

ITEC Advert March 2018Need help with apprenticeships?  ITEC specialises in IT technical, Digital and Business apprenticeships.  If we can’t help, we know someone who can!  Contact our Youth Programmes Manager, Toni Marshall, today on 01268 286929 or



National Apprenticeship Week #NAW2018

It’s National Apprenticeship week #NAW2018 #Apprenticeships #ITApprenticeship #Essex

Considering hiring an apprentice? Here are 5 reasons why you should!

More and more employers today are waking up to the benefits of apprenticeships. This can either be employing a new member of staff as an apprentice or encouraging an existing employee to further their career by taking an apprenticeship. An apprenticeship allows an individual to study for a work-based qualification that can significantly improve their future earning power and career enjoyment. But it also provides many benefits for the employer.


Josh Barwick close up

Joshua Barwick ITEC Apprentice of the Year 2017



Here are five key benefits of apprenticeships:

  1. Apprenticeships provide skilled workers for the future. Training helps employees to improve their skills, which will benefit the company in the long term. It will also ensure that the skills developed are matched to the company’s future needs. This will help fill any skills gaps and allow the business to source future managers and leaders from within.
  2. Apprenticeships increase staff loyalty and retention. Employees who have been trained in-house tend to be highly motivated, committed to the company and supportive of its business objectives.  An apprenticeship encourages employees to think of their job as a career and to stay with the company for longer, which reduces recruitment costs. Offering an apprenticeship to an existing member of staff shows that you see them as an integral part of the workforce and are happy to invest in their future.
  3. Apprenticeships increase a company’s bottom line, investing in staff trained through apprenticeships has a positive effect on a company’s finances, making it more competitive
  4. Apprenticeships free up existing staff time.  As a business grows, staff often find their time is taken up by smaller tasks when they should be concentrating on their key areas of work.   Delegating these basic jobs to an apprentice allows them to learn and take responsibility, while freeing up the time of your more experienced staff. Better allocation of work should make your business more productive.
  1. Apprentices can revitalise a company. Apprentices often bring a fresh approach and a positive attitude into the workplace, which can have a knock-on effect on existing staff. By embarking on an apprenticeship, they are showing themselves to be willing to learn and can bring new ideas into the company. As apprentices come from a range of backgrounds – including high-calibre candidates who do not want the costs of going to university – they can bring fresh insight into your business activities.

92% of employers say an apprentice has led to a more motivated workforce

Did you know……

…… ITEC is a not-for-profit training provider with over 30 years experience so we can guarantee it is always about the people!

……. Apprenticeships at ITEC include IT professional qualifications 

……. Cyber-security Technologist is now available as an apprenticeship

……. ITEC has launched the new Business Admin Apprenticeship Standard

Finally, a company that is willing to invest in people by supporting apprenticeships is showing a positive approach to Corporate Social Responsibility, which is good for attracting both customers and future high-quality staff.

National Apprenticeship Service data has shown that 81% of consumers favour using a company that takes on apprentices.

If you would like to know more about apprenticeships and how they can help your business call ITEC and speak to our designated apprenticeship team on 01268 286929 or email   



Apprenticeship ‘Exclusivity’ contracts – are they right for the apprentice and the employer?

Last week at ITEC we received a phone call from a national provider who informed us that they have an ‘exclusivity contract’ with a local school, with whom we have worked with for the past 10 years or so prior to the Apprenticeship Levy coming in to play.

Now this shouldn’t be a problem, I hear you say, as we specialise in IT technical apprenticeships, whereas they specialise in a different sector and they do not deliver the IT standard the employer and their apprentice want.

However, because of this ‘exclusivity’ clause in their contract, it seems this provider is going to attempt to run this specialised IT programme for this apprentice, despite the fact that the employer wants to purchase this training with ITEC and has agreed a contract with us to deliver this standard.    The provider is in control of the employer’s levy funds not the employer!

This concerns us on many levels.   This is clearly not in the apprentice’s best interests, it isn’t what the employer wants and is ignoring their right to choose, and it reflects poor practice as a training provider, which reflects on all of us in this sector.   It shouldn’t be about the funding and the money, it should always be (first, last and everything in between) about the people!

Apprenticeship_Employers_BadgeThe Government Agency, ESFA, are absolutely adamant that employers must be in the driving seat for spending their apprenticeship levy funds and procuring the right training for their apprentice.    So how do ‘exclusivity’ clauses work with this aspiration?    This training provider is actively preventing this employer from choosing who they want to work with on this occasion to the detriment of the apprentice, who should, after all is said and done, be the most important person in this transaction!

We see how ‘exclusivity’ can work in certain sectors.  For example, a national training provider specialising in Care may have an exclusive contract to provide apprenticeship training for a national Care Home provider or a national training provider in Hair may have an exclusive contract with a salon franchise.   But this shouldn’t be to the exclusion of all else, should it?    We are perplexed as to why a training provider thinks it is in the best interests of the employer and the apprentice to deliver something that is not in their current remit and which they do not have a track record with, especially when the employer has a long-standing relationship with a training provider that does have that specialism.

It’s not something we would do here at ITEC nor would it even cross our minds.   We specialise in IT so why would we try to deliver apprenticeships in other areas that we know nothing about, for example, Hairdressing or Sports Management?   When one of our employers wants something we cannot deliver, we refer them on to a specialist provider who can help.   That is the right and proper thing to do and is in the best interests of the employer and apprentice, isn’t it?

In the example given above, the training provider needs to be flexible with their approach to applying the ‘exclusivity’ clause when there is a need to run a specialised programme for an apprentice that is outside their scope.  To try to run a one-off programme in an area that is not their speciality when there is a small, local provider like us who is able to run it, is doing a disservice to the apprentice, the employer, reflects badly on our sector and is, quite frankly, an abuse of the system.  But that’s just our opinion!  What’s yours?

#Apprenticeship #Apprenticeshiplevy #ITApprenticeships

@AELPUK @ESFAgov @ESFAdigital @NickLinford @tes @tesfenews @halfon4harlowMP

@Apprenticeships @Metcalfe_SBET @AnneMilton



Apprenticeship Reforms – the next challenges

Apprenticeship Reforms – 2018, the next challenges – 1.  bring SME’s back to Apprenticeships and 2.  Save our Level 2 IT Technical Apprenticeship #Apprenticeships #Essex #Post16 #ITApprenticeships

Apprenticeship_Employers_BadgeHere at ITEC, our aim during 2018 is to bring SME’s back into Apprenticeships.  The new IT and Business Administration Standards Apprenticeships were written by employer panels made up of large employers and, as such, favour the types of jobs available in large corporations.

Jobs in large companies are usually made up of a high volume of work in the same discipline.   But what of the variety of jobs in small employers?   As many people who have worked for small organisations know, you need to be multi-tasking most of the time as there is a smaller volume of work in each discipline and a greater number of disciplines making up your day.

So, can the standards work in this environment?   ITEC’s day release training programme covers all aspects of the standard so the technical skills and knowledge development requirements are covered.  We also have workshops available through the year to develop the wider personal skills, e.g. time management, communication, project management, etc.

There are Gateway qualifications on the way to End Point Assessment (EPA) which may be professional vendor qualifications such as CompTIA’s Network+ or Microsoft Office Specialist, or may be approved qualifications from City & Guilds or BCS.

EPA is taken at the end of the Apprenticeship and is made up of a synoptic project to test skills, a knowledge test, a summative portfolio and an interview by an external assessor.  The EPA will be graded too, so apprentices now have the opportunity to attain a ‘Distinction’.   Where the job may not provide evidence for the whole of the standard, we have some skills competitions and job swaps planned to enable our apprentices to demonstrate their acquired skills.

At the moment, the Standards Apprenticeships are only available at level 3 and above, which is disappointing for our school leavers going into their first jobs.  As the apprenticeship is End Point, it is unlikely that the job will be at level 3 to begin with and, if a level 2 standard is not forthcoming, this will prove to be a barrier to apprenticeships for these young people.

CompTIA logoLevel 2 frameworks continue to be available at the present time and this may well be the case until 2020.   Our level 2 IT Technical apprenticeship is available for all new starts and includes the CompTIA A+ and 2 Microsoft MTA awards (Networking Fundamentals and Server Admin.   Historically, this has proven to be an excellent starting vehicle for young people wanting to go into an IT professional career and our SME’s feel this is a good fit as a starting point for their recruitment and development needs.

Can we get some smaller employers together to write the level 2 standard as an employer group?  Mmmm, let’s see what we can do!  If you’re interested in helping, get in touch and Save our Level 2 Apprenticeships. #Saveourapprenticeships #saveourlevel2apprenticeship

So, whether you are a small to medium non-levy paying employer or whether you are a large levy paying employer, ITEC can assist with your IT and Business Apprenticeship requirements.   Toni Marshall is on hand to help with recruitment, initial assessment and sign-up of your apprentice.  Call her on 01268 286929 or email   Our team of delivery specialists can assist with training course content, matching job specifications to the apprenticeship standards and planning the apprenticeship journey.   Our training schedule for the first half of 2018 is available and our delivery team are ready to deliver their technical courses to your apprentices.

Huawei INANew for 2018 – ITEC Learning Technologies has the first Huawei-approved trainer in the UK.  Our Huawei training academy is now open for other schools and colleges to train their IT trainers paid for by Huawei.  Contact Kirk Redhead on 01268 286929 or email for further details.  Hurry, the free of charge training from Huawei is for a limited period.