5 of the best tech apprenticeship schemes in the North

6 Mar, 2017

It’s no surprise that jobs in the tech industry sound like some of the coolest ones around today. They could have you mucking in on anything and everything at one of the country’s growing number of digital startups. Or they could lead you into a job at one of the world’s best-known brands, like Amazon, Facebook or Google.

With a young industry like tech, it’s not always clear what the specific routes are for into getting a job. But with a growing number of digital apprenticeships in the North, you certainly don’t have to go to London to find a creative and challenging path that will make your parents proud and your friends jealous.

Being an apprentice involves practical classroom study, combined with on-the-job training. This is a lot of what makes this route to work so appealing. You’ll get to know exactly what’s expected of you at work, as well as some of the most up-to-date understanding about your new field. You are also paid for your time, and it’s likely you could land a permanent job once you finish the programme.

There are lots of tech apprenticeships out there to choose from, not least because companies are crying out for digitally skilled young people. To tie in with National Apprenticeship Week, here are five of the best that you can apply for now.

Software engineering apprenticeship at Sky, Leeds

Sky is not just a place to find the latest TV and sports content – it’s also got a whole load of people working behind the scenes to build its apps and websites, as well as making everything you eventually see actually work.

At the moment Sky has a spot open in its Software Engineering Academy in Leeds. Should you make the cut, you’ll spend 18 months getting the chance to help build the software that drives Sky.

Pelu is a tech apprentice at Sky. She says “As an apprentice, I get the same benefits as everyone else, which I really like. I definitely don’t have any complaints about the work/life balance!”

Tamara is a Software Engineering Apprentice at Sky. She says “What we apprentices do today, we didn’t know when we applied for this job! You learn so much, and it’s really about teamwork. You can team up with a mentor, and learn about the areas of technology that interest you the most.”

The apprenticeship includes a four-week bootcamp where you’ll learn some of the latest digital product development tools, including Agile, Java development, test-driven development, and continuous build and integration, where you quickly build and try out new ideas. You’ll work alongside experienced Software Engineers learning from some of the brightest and best in an exciting digital environment.

You’ll get to work across lots of different areas of Sky’s business, getting experience of how big companies use free, open-source online tools, along with a whole range of programming languages for building everything from beautiful websites to iPhone apps. They could include Ruby, Scala, Javascript, PHP and Java, HTML, CSS, Node JS, Python, Jenkins and Git.

Sky’s application deadline is ongoing, but due to the fast-paced nature of Sky’s businesses, vacancy close dates may change. We recommend getting your application in early to avoid disappointment. You can apply on Sky’s website.

Sky Academy runs the company’s apprenticeship schemes. It works with young people from primary school right through to starting their career. It uses shared passion for TV, creativity or sport to build the skills and experience, and unlock the potential, of each young person.

Technical apprenticeships at RedEye,Cheshire

Apprentices at RedEye.

RedEye helps some of the high street’s biggest brands, including Hotel Chocolat and Interflora, understand their customers and make more sales.

As an apprentice, you could be working on making sure all of RedEye’s digital platforms are working properly, or creating email campaigns using A/B testing for that killer subject line. You will get to learn from RedEye’s experienced managers. They already have 10 apprentices working in areas such as sysadmin, bug fixing, email marketing and software testing.

RedEye offers both traditional apprenticeships aimed at 16- to 18-year-olds, and ones that give you a degree at the end. That means you don’t have to sacrifice qualifications for real-world experience.

Their graduate apprenticeship scheme looks to help address the skills shortage in tech over the long-term. It provides an alternative to getting into debt at university, while still offering a degree at the end. RedEye have found that apprentices often outperform university graduates in terms of their their mature work ethic, and their ability to come up with fresh ideas and add value quickly.

RedEye has an ‘Outstanding’ rating as a place to work according to Best Companies. The company gives its team opportunities to test their skills at tech competitions, including Hack Manchester, at which RedEye has won titles twice in a row.

If you’s like to find out more about RedEye’s apprenticeship scheme, please email

IT apprenticeship at UKFast, Manchester

UKFast apprenticeships.

UKFast’s apprenticeship scheme launched in 2013. It’s developed and delivered by on-site teachers who’ve recently made the transition from public sector schools to UKFast’s classroom.

Named a Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer, UKFast has a 100 percent employment rate for apprentices completing its programme. Graduates move into technical roles, including support engineer, infrastructure engineer, software developer and solutions architect.

Many of UKFast’s apprentice graduates are now senior engineers managing technical support for large clients, doing an incredible job with huge amounts of responsibility.

The number of apprentices on UKFast’s programme has increased year on year, in line with the firm’s rapid growth and its ongoing commitment to improving digital education.

UKFast’s engagement with young people in technology starts with children as young as five, when they visit the UKFast Campus for Code Clubs run by UKFast’s current apprentice cohort. It’s a holistic approach that puts paid to the idea that apprenticeships are cheap labour for kids who don’t make it to university.

The company partners with leading educational provider the Dean Trust and works with more than 50 schools in the Greater Manchester area. It inspires and engages more than 57,000 young people through masterclasses, workshops and code clubs.

UKFast’s numerous awards for workplace culture and employee engagement include achieving Three-Star status in the Sunday Times Best Companies list, placing fifth in 2017 and first in Manchester; winning the Business Masters’ Employer of the Year 2016; achieving Gold Standard Investors in People and placing fifth overall in the medium category of the UK’s Best Workplaces 2016.

Applications for level-3 IT apprenticeships are open now, with applications for level-4 software development opening in the spring. The closing date is ongoing and you can apply on their website.

Software Development apprenticeship at Manchester Digital, Manchester

Manchester Digital apprenticeships.

Manchester Digital is in its first year of running a level-4 Software Development apprenticeship, supported by The Skills Company. The apprenticeship was designed collaboratively between a number of digital employers, which include Auto Trader, Zuto and Rental Cars.

The curriculum is written and delivered by developers working at these companies. This means you’re being taught by those already working in the field and gain the most relevant experience. The scheme takes a boot camp format that replicates digital ways of working, including retros and standups.

At the moment, Manchester Digital has 14 apprentices with seven different employers. These are a mixture of large and smaller companies, like PushOn and SourceLab. Each apprentice’s learning journey takes them from Level-3 apprentices to junior developers in two years.

The programme also teaches soft skills such as collaboration, communication and influencing. An unusual feature of this apprenticeship is how much employer support you get. You’ll work together to discuss best practice, mentoring techniques and experiences.

You’ll also benefit from Manchester Digital’s programme of events and meetups. That ensures you’ll be fully part of the wider tech community.

Please send your applications as a CV and covering letter to

IT technical apprenticeship at ITC Service, Washington

ITC Service is one of the North East’s leading IT Support providers. With offices in Washington and Cramlington, it provides unlimited IT support 24/7 to local businesses.

The company has an opening for an IT Technical apprentice, working towards Level-3 Trailblazer Infrastructure Technician. The start of your apprenticeship takes place at the JB Skills Microsoft Academy in Sunderland, and can last for up to 16 weeks. You’ll be released at intervals for structured training.

The rest of your training will be at the offices of ITC Service, where you’ll be part of a small friendly team. In this apprenticeship, you will focus on building PC’s, offering workshop repairs of IT hardware, resolving IT support issues remotely for over 300 clients, and other support duties. There will be occasional on-site visits with other members of staff.

The closing date for applications for ITC Service’s programme is 10 March.

Featured image credit: Sky

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