Microsoft has launched its 2013 Apprentice of the Year competition, as part of its commitment to help 300,000 British 16-24 year olds into work over the next three years through its Get On programme.

The Apprentice of the Year competition is open to anyone on a Microsoft-backed apprenticeship in the UK. The award also recognises the support provided by Microsoft's partner network of small and medium sized IT businesses and training providers QA, Firebrand, Baltic and Remit, who help deliver the apprenticeship schemes.

The deadline for applications is the 10 May and the Apprentice and Apprenticeship Provider of the Year awards will be announced at a parliamentary reception in June.

Hugh Milward, Microsoft director of corporate affairs, said: "Over 90 percent of Microsoft apprentices stay with our partner businesses where they started their apprenticeship, moving into a fully qualified role, and the Apprentice of the Year Award recognises their hard work and achievements so far."

As part of the Get On campaign Microsoft has committed to creating 4,000 apprenticeships over the next three years.

Last year's Apprentice of the Year winner was David Robertson, of Crawley-based Cloud9 Insight. Robertson said: "Through my apprenticeship I have developed the IT skills that will help me succeed in my career and I'm now working as a support consultant at Cloud9, which has completely changed my life."