Technical Sales apprentice case study: meet George and Sam


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George and Sam have both completed their Technical Sales apprenticeships with Microsoft. Both worked as Account Managers for different divisions within Microsoft and have a lot of insight to share for aspiring apprentices who are considering their options.

Why did they choose an apprenticeship?

George always did well with coursework at school and preferred practical application of knowledge, rather than exams which he felt were more a “memory test of a chunk of information.” He didn’t want to go to university so kept a full-time job in retail before making the decision at 25 to change his career.

George explains, “I had thought about doing an apprenticeship in school however this wasn’t pushed by teachers and so I had no real knowledge of this opportunity. When I thought the time was right to change my job, I thought an apprenticeship was the right step. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I started by looking at a company I knew wanted to work for – Microsoft.”

Sam had a similar experience, knowing that he didn’t want to study for 3 to 4 years after school. However, he didn’t have a clear idea of which career path he wanted to choose. Sam said “I wanted to do something a bit more unique than go to uni. I wanted to use an apprenticeship to differentiate myself to employers as so many of my peers were choosing university as the main ‘next step’ career option heavily championed at school.” As Sam enjoyed computer science and IT at school, he used this interest to help his decision on which apprenticeship to apply for.

What activities do their day-to-day role involve and how does the apprenticeship training fit in?

Sam’s role is focused on maintaining customer relationships. He uses problem-solving skills to find solutions for customer queries, with the support of his managers overseeing his recommendations.

He also supports clients by thinking about where he can help grow the business, such as how Microsoft’s products and services can help customers upskill their employees in technical areas where training could fit into their businesses. He recommends things like this as added value to his initial sales support activity.

Sam was always able to link the apprenticeship training with what he was doing in his role: “Often when we were learning the theory in training as group, I realised I had done this on a practical level in my job and am able to relate this back as real-time evidence in my coursework.” Sam felt applying the theory allowed him to think differently about his practical activities and this learning added valuable guidance to support his daily activities.

Were there any benefits of their apprenticeship that they weren’t expecting?

Alongside acquiring tech skills, one of the biggest benefits for George has been building confidence when working or speaking with groups. In his apprenticeship, George had to present his work to his Trainer and other apprentices. George says that “this was always done in a welcoming, relaxed and calm environment. My Trainer helped by providing constructive criticism in how I could improve my skills. I have now presented to an audience of over 200 so this change has been a huge plus.”

What are their career aspirations after completing their apprenticeship?

Sam is eager to move into a full-time role as a Technical Account Manager, and George believes his aspirations are much more focussed from the experience gained on his apprenticeship. He says, “For the first time ever, I have a goal that I want to get to. The big next step. I have pinpointed a role I’d love to work towards – focussing more on customer facing areas. Talking directly to a CXO client at an expo recently, I felt confident to engage. I also had enough product knowledge to be able to open discussions around technology solutions and was inspired to develop this role further. I am open to all opportunities, but a realistic next step would be to take pursue a higher apprenticeship to develop my tech sales skills further.”

Thinking about starting a Technical Sales apprenticeship?

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