National Telecoms Apprenticeship Scheme launch at BT Tower

Created by the industry for the industry, the ITP Telecoms Apprenticeship Scheme is the only one of its kind available to telecoms SMEs – and this is a chance for employers to find out more at a special launch event during National Apprenticeship Week. Held in the iconic surroundings of the BT Tower on March 13, the breakfast meeting will provide employers with everything they need to know about apprentices and how they can work for their business.

Research carried out by the ITP identified that while many employers would like to take on apprentices, only a few were able to do so, due to constraints on time, staff resources, and access to training.

Currently only larger companies – such as Virgin Media, BT and Cable and Wireless Worldwide – are in a position to take on apprentices. From now on, however, apprenticeships will become a reality for everyone working within the telecoms sector.

The scheme was devised with and for employers, pulling together their views during a lengthy consultation process. Larger companies also lent their support, sharing their time and expertise to make the scheme a reality.

Key issues – such as a lack of college training courses, and the drain on time and resources that administrating an apprenticeship can bring – were identified and tackled. The framework for the apprenticeships has also been designed in such a way that it can be tailored to suit the specific needs of each employer, ensuring that not only are their apprentices being trained, but will bring key talents and abilities to their workplace.

The scheme is now open, and looking to recruit high-calibre candidates of 16 years and above. Already, the ITP has had an extremely positive response to its proposals and is hoping to have a pilot programme running in March with a larger programme beginning in September.

Craig Lang, of telecoms firm CAT UK, said: “We are keen to take on apprentices, but the practical difficulties have so far deterred us. We have also looked at other providers, but felt that the training they were offering was not specific to the needs of a telecoms business. The ITP scheme is the only truly relevant apprenticeship being offered to CAT within the telecoms sector.”

The other benefit of the ITP Apprenticeship Scheme is that modules have been devised so that graduates will be able to make a streamlined application to gain their professional registration – ICTTech. This not only provides a real career boost for apprentices, but also adds prestige and quality to the employer’s reputation.

Ann Potterton, CEO of the ITP, said: “We have been driven by a very real industry need to produce fresh talent – telecoms is ever-changing, and will always need a ready supply of high-quality staff who can be trained in relevant skills. For the first time now, telecoms employers of all sizes will be able to employ apprentices – who, as we all know, bring a great deal of energy, enthusiasm and dedication to the workplace. Costs are minimal due to Government funding, and there is a real emphasis on providing focused, relevant telecoms training, tailored to each employer. We are very excited that after all of our planning and consulting, we are now ready to go. We very much look forward to meeting the young people who apply for our scheme, matching them with employers, and supporting them both throughout their apprenticeship journey and beyond.”

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