Co-operative Group offers IT apprenticeships as part of £9m academy

The Co-operative Group (Co-op) will offer IT apprenticeships as part of its £9m Apprenticeship Academy for 16 to 25-year-olds.

The Co-operative Group (Co-op) will offer IT apprenticeships as part of its £9m Apprenticeship Academy for 16 to 25-year-olds.

The Co-op plans to create 2,000 jobs over the next three years through its academy as part of the government's commitment to fund apprenticeships in the UK.

A Co-op spokesman confirmed a "small number" of apprenticeships would be created for corporate IT functions, based at its head offices in Manchester.

Training will include upgrading IT software, systems operations and supporting hardware equipment, as well as working towards City & Guilds and CompTIA Network+ qualifications.

In a statement, Co-op group chief executive Peter Marks said: "Through our new Apprenticeship Academy, we are offering young people across the UK proper jobs with qualifications and real career opportunities.

"With a quarter of our employees under the age of 25, eventually we want to make them all apprentices, and I would encourage other big businesses to follow suit."

Co-op will also recruit apprentices for its food, pharmacy, financial services and funeral industry businesses.

Research by E-Skills, the sector skills council for business and information technology, shows the number of IT professionals under the age of 30 fell from 33% in 2001 to 19% in 2010. The industry body believes that more than 100,000 new entrants are needed in the IT industry to keep pace with demand.

The number of IT apprenticeships is yet to be confirmed, but vacancies will be available to apply for later this year.

Sky is recruiting 50 IT graduates to develop mobile and web-based applications at its London-based software engineer training academy.

BT, IBM and Visa Europe also offer IT apprenticeship schemes for school leavers.


Industry experts discuss IT skills shortage at free panel session event 


In partnership with BCS Elite Group, City University London's Centre for Information Leadership is hosting a free panel session event to discuss how the IT industry can address the sector's skills shortage.

Panel members will include John Seglias, chair of the BCS Elite Group; Dr Richard Sykes, a board-level strategic analyst and advisor in IT and business process sourcing; David Will, CIO of Ofcom; and academics from City and The Open University.

The event will be supported by industry bodies Intellect and E-Skills UK, as well as Computer Weekly's CW500 club for IT directors.

The event will take place at City's Cass Business School on Monday 27 June from 4pm. Register your attendance here.

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