SoftwareONE ApprenticesJune 10, 2014
SoftwareONE use the Microsoft Partner Apprenticeship Programme as a Strategic Recruitment Tool.
SoftwareONE is a global Microsoft Gold Partner that provides Software Licensing solutions and Software Asset Management services to organisations in over 80 countries, helping them get the most from their IT investments. To support its ambitious growth plans, SoftwareONE has invested in the creation of an apprenticeship scheme that provides a source of new employees for sales, licensing and technical specialist roles based in the United Kingdom. Zak Virdi, SoftwareONE UK Managing Director highlights:
“These new employees are young business professionals who are part of the Microsoft Partner Apprenticeship scheme. The sales apprentices are currently undertaking a 12 month development programme – both in the classroom and on the sales floor – to ensure that SoftwareONE has capable Microsoft sales specialists who can generate new business.” Zak believes that “SoftwareONE’s success and worldwide growth is because of our people, and I am extremely pleased with the outcome of the apprentices we have employed to date.”
Working closely with external training provider, Remit IT Academy, SoftwareONE have created a programme and process that develops young people, gives them the skills and confidence to meet the needs of their business and deliver customer driven solutions. Les Meadows, Programme Manager at Remit IT Academy highlights SoftwareONE’s involvement with the programme: “SoftwareONE has totally embraced the concept of the Microsoft endorsed Apprenticeship programme and have shown true leadership in this area. They have focused on their business and understood what was required and have created a professional development process for young people within their organisation.”
The 12 month programme consists of formal delivery of knowledge at Remit (one week per month) and reviews the apprentice’s place of work. The programme is a City & Guilds Level 3 qualification and is equivalent to two A levels.
Reena Chandrababu successfully completed the Microsoft Partner Apprenticeship Programme at SoftwareONE in December 2012 and has since continued as a fulltime employee with her own set of accounts within the SME market. When asked what Reena enjoys the most she replied: “It’s the excitement that comes with the sales side of my job; getting on the phone and interacting with customers. It’s fast-paced and vibrant compared to just sitting at a desk and studying at university.” Before starting on the programme she is certain to continue her career development at SoftwareONE: “I never thought a career in IT would suit me, but combined with the sales aspect I am really enjoying the IT environment. At first I was afraid the apprenticeship would be too technical, but now that I think about it, it is great that the apprenticeship provides technical knowledge as it helps and makes you more confident.”
The success of the programme has allowed SoftwareONE to use the Microsoft Partner Apprenticeship Programme as an on-going recruitment tool. In addition to Reena, six other apprentices have been employed full time and another 8 have just started on the programme. Victoria Constantine, who managed the apprenticeship scheme at SoftwareONE in the UK, highlights the “the aim is to get apprentices into full-time employment at the end of their programme. We want to help those individuals buil a career and have them stay and develop at SoftwareONE.”
Victoria highlights just a few ways in which the company has benefitted from the Microsoft Partner Apprenticeship Programme: “The Apprentices have increased sales through their sales targets and hence brought more revenue for the business, and through their Microsoft training have helped with technical competencies for the workforce.”
Gennaro Migliaccio is another Microsoft Partner Apprentice currently going through the programme at SoftwareONE. He has gone through the technical-sales route and is a solutions advisor. Gennaro has always had an interest in IT and has enjoyed being able to gain valuable hands-on experience and confidence which are both essential skills employers are looking for: “It’s one thing studying and another doing it hands-on. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting talented people and learning from them. Being techy, most of us don’t like to talk, but being social is something I’ve picked up through becoming more confident at the job.”
The weekly training sessions with Remit IT Academy allow the apprentices to gain skills which they can use at the workplace. Les Meadows, programme manager at Remit highlights how the SoftwareONE apprentices benefit from the training programme by learning job related sales skills and by undertaking Microsoft Office Specialist certifications and Microsoft MTA qualifications. “Both Reena and Gennaro started with little or no sales experience and as the course has progressed they have become focused IT professionals. Their willingness to learn and improve has been evident and has helped to channel a career for them in the IT industry.” Les Meadows highlights.
Reena and Gennaro both chose the Apprenticeship Programme as an alternative to university and agree that the most significant benefit to the programme is the experience and qualifications gained from it: “Seeing an opportunity for a career is what the apprenticeship programme has provided for me. It allows you to see others in a professional working environment which motivates you to work” explains Reena. “With an Apprenticeship you can see a job straight afterwards, unlike with a university degree. This is something that didn’t motivate me at all which is why I didn’t stay at university. For many, university is a great route to employment but it doesn’t work out for everyone, like it didn’t for me.” Reena emphasizes.
Both Reena and Gennaro appreciate the support Microsoft, Remit and most importantly SoftwareONE have given them. The support, input and dedication from SoftwareONE has been invaluable and the main reason the programme has been so successful: “SoftwareONE has made all of us feel like we are meant to be here”, Reena highlights. Both Reena and Gennaro are looking to continue their careers within the IT industry at SoftwareONE.
The Microsoft Partner Apprenticeship is a key strand of Microsoft’s current employment initiative, Get On. Dominic Gill, Microsoft Partner Apprenticeship Manager highlights: “We are fully committed to providing young people with as many relevant opportunities to start a career in IT as possible and the Partner Apprenticeship provides just that. The 5 versions of the programme are designed to ensure the apprentices realise their potential for their employers as quickly as possible whilst giving the apprentice the core skills required upon which to build a career. We are delighted that SoftwareONE has found the Partner Apprenticeship to be such an important part of their growth strategy, especially with Sales based roles, and would strongly encourage other Partners and young people to follow this great example.”