In this exclusive Q&A to mark National Apprenticeship Week, Nicola Complin, talent acquisition manager at BT, outlines how apprenticeships are working at the telecoms giant.
1. When did you introduce apprenticeships and why?
Apprenticeships are a core part of our talent strategy as they ensure we maintain and develop a highly skilled workforce. BT has had an apprenticeship scheme in place for over 50 years.
2. What kind of apprenticeship courses and levels do you offer?
We have an extremely diverse number of programmes, including Business Administration, Customer Service, Financial Services, HR, Management, Sales, Power, IT, ICT and Telecoms.
The range of apprenticeship levels are:
Intermediate – working towards work-based learning Level 2 competence qualification (BTEC) learning Level 1 functional skills which are supported by a knowledge based qualification such as an NVQ.
Advanced – working towards work-based learning Level 3 competence qualification (BTEC) learning Level 2 functional skills which are supported by a knowledge based qualification such as an NVQ.
Higher – working towards work-based learning competence qualification which are consolidated by the achievement of one of the following:
Level 4 foundation degree/equivalent to certificate of higher education, Level 5 foundation degree/equivalent to diploma of higher education,
Level 6 honours degree, Level 7 Masters/post grad certificate or diploma
Our Higher apprenticeships make as a ‘real’ alternative to University.
For example, our finance apprenticeship takes people to Chartered Accountant status in 5 year. Alongside the academic study, a competency-based qualification proves that the apprentice is able to apply his or her learning in the workplace.
3. What are the business benefits of recruiting school leavers as apprentices?
Apprentices are more engaged and committed than other groups of employees; after five years, 92.78% are still with us and 19.16% have been promoted to managerial roles. In fact, many of our senior managers and directors started their careers with us as apprentices.
4. What are the benefits of recruiting apprentices that other routes don’t offer?
“Apprentices thoroughly enjoy being part of BT, are incredibly enthusiastic, demonstrate exemplary and professional attitudes to learning and develop their personal and social skills exceptionally well. Resources for learning are outstanding and offer opportunities to put theory into practice and this motivates apprentices and develops their skills very well. Apprentices are very well prepared for their future careers.” Extract from our recent Ofsted report
As we our apprentices are part of our team throughout the business, they help to drive up standards and expectations among all of our people.
5. Why would you recommend apprenticeships to other employers?
To quote one of our operational managers: “Teams with apprentices report that the rest of the team experiences a boost in morale – we ‘catch’ some of the enthusiasm, fresh thinking and energy that apprentices bring into the business.”