Hutton Henry is the founder and manager director of Beyond Migration, an IT infrastructure migration business. His team delivers a range of Microsoft Core Infrastructure consulting services.
Hutton had heard, through other Microsoft Partners and direct from Microsoft itself, about the Microsoft Apprenticeship Scheme. As he considered branching out into new areas of business, like software development, and began searching for someone to undertake a significant migration project, the scheme came to mind. Hutton says:
“The idea intrigued us and from what we’d heard the placements had been very successful. For the migration project we needed someone to get their hands dirty on a large Office 365 migration – someone who was willing to learn on the job and be flexible. We could have employed someone via usual channels but this seemed like the perfect opportunity for a young person.”
Although he’d done his research with Microsoft and other Partners, Hutton also consulted training provider QA to get a greater insight into the recruitment process.
“What we gained from the initial discussions was an overview of how the process worked, explanation of the Microsoft developer training the apprentice would undertake and documentation.”
QA then conducted apprentice interviews before sending through a number of profiles of candidates Beyond Migration would interview directly. At this point, the business’s usual employment process was followed and Alex Small (pictured) was recruited for the Apprenticeship role. Alex had arrived with examples of basic website work he’d done as well as example HTML code. Hutton recalls welcoming the new employee to the business:
“We had a team drink to allow Alex to meet the whole team the following week and he started his apprenticeship immediately on a client site. To use an old cliché he hit the ground running.”
In fact, Alex went a lot further having hit the ground running and was named Microsoft Apprentice of the Year 2014. Alex says:
“The apprenticeship really opened my eyes. I had to learn to work both with people within the team and customers. I would say I am a confident .NET programmer now which is fantastic as it really has set me up and made me secure in the job market.”
Alex and Beyond Migration have proven to be an exceptionally good fit, and both parties have made tangible gains from the Apprenticeship. Hutton outlines the business benefits:
“We added a valuable, creative and talented person to the team and managed to venture into “proper” .NET development. Our consulting experience combined with the software we jointly developed helped us secure a corporate divestment project (the biggest project we’ve had so far) and work on a Windows 7 migration project.”
Some may question whether Beyond Migration has simply been lucky to find such a capable apprentice, but Hutton refutes the idea that Alex is an exception:
“Since taking on Alex we have met other Microsoft apprentices from other companies and just like Alex they are articulate, bright and knowledgeable. So this reassures me and we will take on more developers from the scheme. And of course the experience will be different but this time we have Alex to mentor them.”