BT will double its intake of apprentices next year as part of a drive to increase the number of people having long-term careers with the company.
The apprentices are expected to move through the ranks at BT over the course of their careers, providing the company with its next generation of middle managers and senior engineers.
Dave Walsh, head of apprenticeships at BT’s installation and maintenance division, Openreach, said, “If you recruit engineers directly, they tend to stay engineers. Apprentices are expected to progress beyond engineering and move up through the business.”
Of some 200 people who completed their three-year apprenticeships in September, more than 20 have already been promoted to more senior roles within BT.
The new intake of apprentices, who will start their three-year apprenticeships next summer, will study for the BTec telecoms qualification in their first year.
Apprentices who pass the BTec will work for BT Openreach for their second and third years. They will build corporate networks, maintain the BT network and connect domestic users.
The 400 new starters will increase BT’s total number of apprentices to 1,200 in mid-2007.
BT receives funding from the government’s Learning and Skills Council for each apprentice.
Walsh said, “The business case would be seriously undermined if we did not have the funding from the Learning and Skills Council.”
The skills council pays twice as much for an apprentice aged 16 to 18 as it does for one aged 19 or 20. Companies receive no funding for apprentices aged 25 or over.