Accenture has launched an apprenticeship scheme for all its UK BPO staff as well as new starters, which will be 100% online.
About 1,300 people, 250 of which are expected to be new recruits, will take part in apprentice programmes over the next two years. Accenture's apprentice programmes will cover IT, business administration and team management.
The programme will increase into additional areas before summer next year.
Accenture, which employs 10,000 in the UK, is also supporting the Greater London Authority's drive to encourage London businesses to create apprenticeship schemes. The Greater London Authority is providing services to support such apprenticeship projects in London.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, last week urged executives at financial services firms in London to back his plan to create 20,000 apprenticeships in London.
The Accenture model will show how businesses can cost-effectively run this type of scheme and demonstrate its value. Accenture is using e-learning traing from Skillsoft on its learning management system made by SumTotal to provide the online programme.
Duncan Mears, senior executive in Accenture's BPO practice, said there is no face-to-face training required because all materials are online.
"The cost of delivering this type of service is much less," Duncan Mears said.
Mears said 60% to 70% of the training material is already available to Accenture.
Funding is coming from the government National Employment Service's National Apprenticeship Scheme.
According to Mears: "The people involved are all in customer-facing roles and through this programme the quality of our services will improve."
Those that do the programmes will start at level 3 apprenticeships, which is the equivalent of an A-level.
Boris Johnson said: "It's time to shatter the myth that apprentices are only suited to the manufacturing or construction sectors. Today there are more than 200 different types of jobs filled by apprentices, who can now be found working in the glass towers of London's financial centres at the likes of Accenture and Royal Sun Alliance, as well as in the offices of Microsoft and the studios of Channel 4."