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BT is to create 1,700 new apprenticeships and graduate jobs in the next 12 months to try to equip young people with the skills and training needed to participate in the growing digital economy, and meet its commitment to supporting a culture of tech literacy in the UK.
The new positions will be created across the BT group, in areas such as cyber security, telecoms engineering, its BT Sport operation, the EE mobile business, and at Adastral Park research centre in Suffolk, which is leading the development of ultrafast network delivery technology.
The latest recruitment drive builds on similar initiatives going back two years that have seen nearly 2,500 new jobs created at BT, which is already one of the UK’s largest employers, with around 81,000 people on the payroll.
Apprenticeships and skills minister, Robert Halfon commented: “It is always good to talk about apprenticeships and the ladder of opportunity they give people to secure the career they want.
“By committing to injecting 1,700 new graduate and apprentice jobs into the UK, BT is offering a real chance to be trained by some of the best in their field,” he added.
“This is especially great news ahead of what will be the 10th annual National Apprenticeship Week where we will showcase the life-changing potential of apprenticeships for people up and down the country.”
BT’s announcement came the day after the government revealed its long-delayed digital strategy, laying down seven key areas of focus – connectivity, digital skills, making the UK the “best place to start and grow a digital business”, helping businesses go digital, cyber security, digital government and data to support the digital economy.
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In its strategy, the government said it would concentrate heavily on digital skills, working in partnership with businesses, charities and voluntary organisations to improve access to and understanding of technology, and tackle digital exclusion.
BT chief executive Gavin Patterson said: “Young people today need three basic skills – reading, writing, and tech know-how. BT is investing in the next generation, helping to train primary school teachers to teach computer science and recruiting large numbers of apprentices and graduates. This is the right thing for us to do if the UK is to remain a digital leader.
“It is an exciting time to join BT, as it continues to invest in ultrafast broadband, 4G, television and sport. We are also preparing for future technologies, including 5G, so we want to recruit the very best. Our apprenticeship and graduate roles will offer people the hands-on experience they need to succeed,” said Patterson.
BT added that its local network access business, Openreach, would also be announcing a new recruitment scheme in due course.