Interview with Ben Hansford, Managing Director of Apprenticeships at Firebrand Training

Firebrand Training is a twenty-year-old company that is known for its unique accelerated training techniques which empower individuals to get digital skill certifications at twice the speed of any other providers.

The company has two arms, the Commercial team which provides accelerated training and certification to individuals in digital teams within businesses to ensure they have the best certifications. Ongoing learning is a vital part of a role in a digital team because as we all know, technology is always evolving so staying up-to-date is mission-critical.

The arm I head up is our apprenticeships team, where we combine our unique training model with award-winning apprenticeship delivery. We work closely with businesses to help them deliver digital apprenticeships that both certify individuals as well as provide them with invaluable on-the-job experience.

We work with some of the biggest organisations in the UK, including BT who despite the COVID-19 lockdowns are hosting 4,500 learners, many of whom are completing their apprenticeships virtually.
 
 
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Why did you decide to join the company?

 
I actually scoped out Firebrand when working at another provider and we were on an acquisition spree, I liked the model and the values of the business, which everyone clearly followed. A lot of businesses talk and promote their values, but very few truly operate by them 24/7.

It seemed like a big happy family that knows how to have fun but also has the credibility and expertise that positions it as a leader in the industry. Since joining in 2019 I was delighted to find that this outward image is also exactly what it’s like on the inside, and I haven’t looked back.
 

 

What advice would you give to aspiring apprentices?

 
Go for it! An apprenticeship is a great opportunity to learn key skills while also putting them into practice, giving you a feel for what your career will actually be like and also allowing you to work with in-job role models. This hands-on training will help you to gain more confidence in a working environment and hit the ground running in a job.

While undertaking an apprenticeship you are an employee of the company so don’t be afraid to get stuck in, get to know your colleagues (albeit virtually at the moment) and take the time to learn from them and ask as many questions as you can about what the job is like.
 

What can we hope to see from Firebrand’s apprentices team in 2021?

 
The team is ready to expand our offering as we head into 2021. We are currently running a Digital Skills Bootcamp for the Liverpool City Region, delivering fast-track bootcamps helping to reskill and upskill Liverpool locals aged 19+ that have either been unemployed for up to a year or are currently employed but want to side-step or level up into a new role within their organisation. Our boot camps are training people in vital digital skills such as Data Analytics, Cybersecurity, Cloud Computing, Software Development and IT Technician.

We are planning to be running more of these across the UK to help to close the UK’s widening digital skills gap as well as offering these bootcamp style courses to businesses alongside our ongoing traditional apprenticeship schemes.