IT Solutions

It’s no secret there is a real shortage of skilled IT Support and tech staff in the industry. Instead of hunting high and low for experienced staff, thinking ahead and training up young, enthusiastic staff is a much more sustainable option.

IT is a real growth sector and more and more school students are starting to study the subject. Taking local, young people into your organisation may seem like a leap but a structured apprenticeship programme will provide training in soft and technical skills that can make a fast impact on your organisation.

Thousands of young people across London apply to our programme each year so your next IT apprentice(s), could be waiting for you here.

We work with employers large and small in the capital so whether you need 1 or 100 apprentices we can help.

Software development apprentices

Why hire an IT Solutions apprentice?

Over the last few years the face of apprenticeships has changed and the government has launched initiatives to improve the quality and number of apprenticeships. This includes courses to provide skills that match to business needs.

Why hire a software development IT apprentice?

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Kano case study

Kano is one of Britain’s most innovative technology companies, creating computers that people of all ages can build themselves.

Matthew Keegan, Head of Customer Care, had previously always recruited interns and graduates, but was intrigued by the idea of apprentices. He says: “When a colleague suggested the apprentice scheme I was really interested to see how it might work for us. Previously I had been worried about recruiting school leavers as I felt it would be tough to help them transition to the workplace. I needn’t have worried though, as I have had wonderful support from Step Forward.”

Alex Henderson and Nathania Harrison both started with Kano in September 2016 aged 18, having recently completed their A Levels. Both apprentices have been able to take on real responsibility.

Alex has found a passion for computer science and programming (which he didn’t know he had) and has been creating complex physics experiments using code.

Keegan continues, “My advice for employers is that if you are thinking of taking on one apprentice, consider taking two as it helped the transition from school to the workplace.”

Read the full case study here.

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Who are we?

Step Forward IT apprenticesStep Forward is an apprenticeship programme run by leading social integration charity The Challenge.

We work with employers large and small across London to help solve their resourcing and skills issues by recruiting and training young people from all backgrounds.

Our Level 3 (Advanced) apprenticeships cover many subjects including IT Solutions.  Organisations such as the National Theatre, Sweaty Betty and Friends of the Earth all work with us, investing in young talent and a future workforce.

We aim to create well-rounded, young professionals.  Therefore we also set up opportunities for our apprentices to mix with people with different backgrounds to them and provide professional development sessions in the form of Mentoring, training and our STEP Weekend Challenges. This is to address employer beliefs that many young people are missing soft skills in the workplace.

This year we received 15 times the amount of applications we needed to fill our programme. Although we aim to be inclusive we also want to offer bright, ambitious young people that will blossom within your organisation under your guidance and the support of their Tutor/Job Coach and Mentor.

We are a Prime Provider and can be found on the Digital Apprenticeship Service via UKPRN 10041031.

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Our Apprenticeship Services

Whether you need to recruit new IT support staff or train your own staff we oversee the entire process from selection to graduation.


Find out more about recruitment                                    Find out more about Internal Training

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Key Elements of our Programme

IT Solutions apprenticeship start dates:

  • September 2018

The course runs for 12-15 months.

An apprenticeship must include the equivalent of 20% of training and, if following the new Apprenticeship Standards, requires an End Point Assessment after at least 12 months of training.

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Key Parts of the IT Solutions course

  • Networking
  • Cloud services
  • Coding and logic
  • PC repairs
  • How to produce a status report
  • Documentation and status report writing

This course follows the Level 3 Infrastructure Technician Apprenticeship Standard and requires an End Point Assessment after at least 12 months of training.

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Fees, Funding & the Apprenticeship Levy

Step Forward IT network engineer apprenticeSince April 2017 all English organisations with a pay bill of over £3million per year are required to pay the Apprenticeship Levy.

For the 98% of organisations that do not have to pay the levy the Government will pay for 90% of the apprenticeship training costs via a system called Co-Investment.

There are also plenty of funding options dependent on the circumstances of your apprentice, which or employer team can speak to you about.  Download our Step Forward Guide to the Apprenticeship Levy & Funding to find out more.

You should expect to pay the following costs:

Apprenticeship training fees
These vary by course and training provider across funding bands. They also vary depending on curriculum of the new Standards and old Frameworks.

Apprentice salary
You are responsible for paying the apprentice salary. The current apprenticeship minimum wage is £3.50 per hour (£6,825 per year). We ask that our employers pay a minimum of £9,000 per year, which works out at £4.61 per hour based on 37.5 hours per week. Salary is, however, at your discretion above the minimum and some of our employers like to pay at a competitive rate for IT entry-level roles.

Training provider fees
Step Forward charge fees to cover administrative costs. We are a non-profit organisation and rely on these costs to develop and run the programme.

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Who we work with

We work with a organisations of all shapes and sizes across London that use our IT Solutions apprentices in different roles such as broadcast media support, front line support or network engineers.

Who we work with IT support apprentices

See our full list of partners here.


IT Industry News

HR Magazine: Vocational skills gaps – time for educational reform?

Is our educational system set up to supply work-ready young people?  How do we prepare today’s school leavers to be the future workforce? Step Forward’s Employer Team Manager, Rachel Taylor, discusses this in HR Magazine.  Read more



5 ways to encourage - and keep - women in tech5 ways to encourage – and keep – young women in IT
There is a major tech and IT skills shortage…so doesn’t it make sense to kill two birds with one stone and fill that gap with young women? However, there are plenty of reasons the industry doesn’t appeal.  Here’s our advice on shaping your organisation to appeal to female talent.  Read more



Women in tech eventHow to inspire the next generation of women in tech
Industry figures suggest that just 26% of tech jobs are held by women. There are many reasons and rumours circling about why this is and how to change it. The gender pay gap and ‘bro culture’ are two reasons it’s not appealing, so what are the next steps? Read more



Get in Touch

Our Employer Team will happily have a chat to you about discuss how an IT Solutions apprentice could fit into your organisation. Get in touch today.

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Our IT apprentice integrated seamlessly into the team and so far has exceeded all expectations. It’s rewarding to know we are contributing to his professional development but this is far from a one way relationship and we regularly benefit from his new ideas and skills. Having an apprentice has not only been an eye opener but also a great success and one I would strongly recommend to anyone.

Ross McMurray

Axis Communications