BT announced it is creating about 180 new apprenticeship and graduate jobs in the North West in its drive to equip young people with the skills and training needed to meet the challenges of a changing jobs market.
About 180 apprentices and graduates will be recruited in locations such as Manchester, Stockport, Liverpool, Warrington and Accrington.
This year’s BT apprentice and graduate recruitment, which includes mobile operator EE, will see the new employees work in a variety of roles, ranging from customer service, vehicle maintenance and billing to cyber security and software development.
BT is committed to building a culture of tech literacy within the UK so that the country remains a digital leader. The latest recruitment of 1,700 apprentices and graduates across the UK builds on the employment of nearly 2,500 in the past two years.
A number of the recruits will be based at BT’s world-recognised labs at Adastral Park, near Ipswich, in Suffolk. This research centre is at the forefront of developing communications networks and is playing a leading role in the development of ultrafast broadband and 5G.
The company also funds and runs Barefoot Computing, a project that helps primary school teachers get confident with teaching computer science. One million children, including more than 118,000 in the North West, have already been reached via the programme, which sees primary school teachers provided with resources and training, and BT plans to reach five million UK children by 2020.
Apprenticeships and Skills Minister, Robert Halfon, has welcomed the announcement. He said: “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. 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.”
Gavin Patterson, chief executive of BT, 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, and so we want to recruit the very best. Our apprenticeship and graduate roles will offer people the hands on experience they need to succeed.”
Mike Blackburn, chairman of BT’s North West regional board, said: “This latest major recruitment is a further example of BT’s commitment to the North West as one of the region’s leading employers and investors. We are offering exciting, high quality careers in a fast moving industry in order to ensure the households and businesses of this region are able to benefit from the latest, first class communications. The new recruits will be joining a world-leading company, which has already invested hundreds of millions of pounds in the North West in technologies such as superfast broadband and 4G.”
BT is one of the UK’s largest employers with 81,000 UK-based people. According to a recent report by Regeneris Consulting, the company supports around 27,000 jobs in the North West through direct employment, spending with contractors and suppliers and the spending of employees – and gives an annual boost to the region’s economy worth £2 billion.
Openreach, BT’s local network business, will launch its own recruitment drive in due course.