North East to benefit from apprentices drive

Homeowners in Lancaster have waited nine months to be connected.
Homeowners in Lancaster have waited nine months to be connected.

Telecoms giant BT today announced that the North East is to benefit from plans to create 1,000 new apprenticeships and graduate jobs in the UK this year.

The new recruits to BT will work in a range of areas, including software development, IT, engineering and digital technology. Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the 700 apprenticeship and 300 graduate jobs that will be created in locations across the UK, including Newcastle.

In addition to the new apprenticeships, BT also today reiterated its commitment to tackling youth unemployment, by providing up to 1,000 vocational training and work-experience placements for out of work youngsters in 2015/16. Locations for the training and work experience will also include Newcastle.

A number of BT’s apprentices will also begin new Degree Apprenticeships, which start this September, allowing them to complete full Honours degrees while working. Careers ranging from business analysis to software development and technology consultancy will be available at BT, as part of the new Government and industry-backed scheme, which integrates degree-level academic learning with practical on-the-job training.

Farooq Hakim, BT’s North East regional director, said: “This announcement is great news for our region. It provides new opportunities for our young people, who are essential to the future success and prosperity of the North East.

“These are exciting times. Technology is developing at an astonishingly fast pace and the major, multimillion-pound investments currently taking place in superfast fibre broadband and other initiatives are changing for the better the way we live and work. Our new recruits will be at the heart of BT’s transformation as we make further advances in high-speed broadband, mobile, sport and digital television. As one of the region’s largest private-sector employers and investors, BT is committed to playing a leading role in the future success of the North East.”

A third of the new apprentices will be recruited into BT’s local network business, Openreach. The recruits will be focused on extending the fibre network, improving service and keeping Britain connected.

BT also said today that it will continue to provide traineeships to out of work youngsters, as a founding member of the UK employer-led initiative Movement to Work. These traineeships will be for young people aged 18 to 24 and combine four to seven-week work placements involving vocational training, employability skills and work experience.

The 1,000 apprenticeship and graduate jobs announced today are in addition to the 1,000 the company created last year.