- Sector: Apprenticeships | Business, Finance, Management, IT & Media | Business
- Level: Intermediate & Advanced
- Start Date: Variable
The IT specialist role plays an important support role within a business organisation. IT application specialists provide support and assistance to colleagues to make effective use of available IT systems and software. IT user skills are required for over 72% of job roles and over 90% of new posts specially require IT user skills. As an IT Application Specialist Apprentice, your exact duties will depend on your employer. It's likely that you'll be working with a team or member of staff to handle various tasks. You may be providing support to other staff members, working on a helpdesk, creating and amending many types of formatted information including documents, diagrams, spreadsheets and presentations. This type of work requires a strong sense of responsibility, accuracy and attention to detail. One of the great things about IT Application Specialist is that you can work almost anywhere, with your transferable skills; you could be working in an IT systems centre, large global organisation or maybe a small independent company.
Am I ready to start?
Entry criteria varies depending on the framework you are studying and the needs of the employer, but a good level of secondary education is expected and many employers expect you to have maths and English GCSE at a C grade or above, if you don't have these we will work with you to achieve them on your apprenticeship. Employers also look for skills like motivation, good interpersonal skills, good communication skills, teamwork, IT skills and a willingness to learn and will set their own specifications depending on the role.
It may be you don't feel you are ready for an apprenticeship and might benefit from a Traineeship first.
How does an Apprenticeship Work?
The Apprenticeship framework is made up of various elements. Each qualification requires a minimum GLH (guided learning hours) which covers both on and off the job activity. Amount of GLH will depend on qualification, level and pathway.
An assessment plan will be agreed with you and your progress will be monitored and reported on regularly. Information will be shared with your employer. Your course will be achieved through evidence and assessment both within your workplace and Harlow College. College attendance will depend on the level and elements you need to complete for your framework. Workplace visits will be carried out by your dedicated assessor to assess your competence whilst carrying out your job role.
To cover the requirements for each element, assessment will be evidenced through a variety of methods: observation, product, learner statement, case studies, witness testimony, professional discussion, assignment and exam.
The duration of the course is dependent on prior attainment and can range from 12 months to 18 months. You will attend College for 1 day a week and you be in the workplace for the remaining 4 days.
What does the course involve?
IT Application Specialist combined qualification
You must demonstrate competence within your job role to meet the aims and objectives of the business and criteria set out in the qualification standards, as well as the knowledge required to meet information Technology principles. Delivery will be located at Harlow College, through distant learning and within your workplace. Unlike vocational qualifications the competence elements are designed to be assessed in the workplace. Some units will be achieved through written assignments and/or on-line multiple choice tests.
Functional Skills, English, Maths and ICT
These skills include English, Maths and ICT, which are essential for people in order to function effectively within a business environment. You will work towards level 2 in English, Maths and ICT, where GCSE A-C or equivalent has not previously been achieved.
ERR (Employer Rights and Responsibilities)
This part of the framework is achieved through a dedicated portfolio and covers the nine national outcomes in relation to ERR. It covers the knowledge and understanding of employee statutory rights and responsibilities, which are covered by employment law, to include the Equality Act, Employment Rights Act and Health and Safety at Work Act. You must show your understanding of your employer's procedures and how to get further advice and information.
PLTS (Personal learning and thinking skills)
This is achieved as part of the main qualification through class sessions and evidence provided. PLTS covers six areas of independent enquiry, creative thinking, reflective learning, team working, self-management and effective participation.
Down to business, what can I do and what can I earn?
With support, guidance and opportunities in the workplace an IT User Specialist apprentice can progress onto:
- The next level apprenticeship in IT User Specialist or another relevant sector
- A range of IT qualifications
- A range of IT undergraduate programmes
After training, a career path could include, IT application helpdesk support, It supervisor, website manager, IT application officer, IT helpdesk manager, IT administration team leader, IT staff development manager or wide range of managerial roles within IT business.
You'll be paid at least the current minimum wage rate for intermediate apprenticeships, but it could be more than that as you progress. Examples of Careers/Job Roles on successful completion of your Apprenticeship include:
- IT Support Technician £20,000 - £25,000
- IT Support Specialist £35,000 - £45,000
- Web Manager £30,000 - £35,000
- IT Training £30,000 - £40,000
Got a job?
You must have a job to do an apprenticeship. If you already have a job you may be able to do an apprenticeship with your current employer.
If you don’t have a job for your apprenticeship – apply for your place at College by clicking the 'Apply Now' button at the top and bottom of the page.
Once you have applied please check out our apprenticeship job vacancies.
An apprenticeship comprises two parts:
- Typically 20% study element (at Harlow College or Stansted Airport College).
- 80% work based element with an employer. It is your responsibility to find an employer.