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Microsoft Apprentice of the Year Award 2014

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Alex

My Journey as an Apprentice

I remember very clearly the week prior to starting my QA Apprenticeship; I spent my evenings reading the QA Blog and researching what was going to be covered in the first weeks at C# Boot-camp. It was then when I first acknowledged the award, wondering what I had to do to 'win'. 18 months down the line, out of the blue, I receive an email from Microsoft inviting me to the awards ceremony.

Throughout my apprenticeship, the Microsoft Apprentice of the Year Award had never popped up in my head, nor had it been brought up in a discussion or meeting; there was so much learning to do, both programmatic and people skills. So after receiving the invitation, it really was a huge surprise.

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.

The time had come, it was the 23rd June 2014. Hutton (our Managing Director) and I arrived at the House of Commons for the awards ceremony, tremendously nervous. We were directed to the Strangers Dining Room where the awards for Apprentice of the Year and Apprentice Employer of the Year were going to be announced; the room felt really hot - I originally thought the room temperature was increasing as more and more people arrived but thinking about it now, my nerves were most likely getting the better of me.

After spending time talking to other employers and apprentices about their experiences the winners were announced. I must first congratulate Cloudamour for rightly winning the Employer of the Year; a company in which 20% of their workforce are apprentices. I am extremely proud to announce that I have been awarded both the small business and overall Microsoft Apprentice of the Year. I must also congratulate the other apprentices for their hard work and determination which led them also to be nominated for the award.

 

Microsoft Apprentice of the Year 2014 Microsoft Apprentice of the Year 2014 - (L-R): Michel Van der Bel (Microsoft UK CEO), QA Apprentice Alex Small, Nadhim Zahawi (Conservative MP for Stratford-upon-Avon), Hutton Henry (Managing Director, Penman IT), Andrew Jones (Conservative MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough)

It was thrilling to be invited to the House of Commons and I genuinely had no expectation to win. There is no better feeling than that of gaining recognition for all of the hard work and effort I applied to my work during my apprenticeship. It was also really encouraging to meet other young people who had taken an Microsoft QA Apprenticeship prior to me and to learn how successful they are now.

I would like to thank my family friends and Hutton my mentor, for their tremendous support throughout the entire period, especially those who went above and beyond. I must also thank Microsoft for welcoming me to the community and also for inviting me to become an Apprentice Ambassador. This alone is a great privilege and it’s even better to have been given the opportunity to give back and promote the apprenticeship scheme to other young people.

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