BT is to create around 25 new apprenticeship and graduate jobs in the North East as it invests heavily to ensure the UK remains one of the world’s leading digital economies.
Apprentices will be recruited in Newcastle, Northumberland, Durham, Tees Valley and South Shields, whilst locations where graduates are expected to be based include Newcastle.
Across the UK, BT will employ around 1,400 new apprentices and graduates in a range of roles from cybersecurity and software development to research and innovation. The roles will be spread across the company with mobile phone operator EE and BT’s local network business, Openreach, both taking on large numbers as will BT’s research and development arm.
BT is investing billions of pounds on the roll out of superfast fibre broadband and some of the new recruits will work on that programme as the company seeks to help the UK maintain its leading position among major European nations.
Some other new recruits will be working in cyber security, an increasingly important area for governments and companies around the world. BT is one of the largest suppliers of cyber security solutions and the new recruits will bolster that business as it seeks to expand.
The news furthers BT’s commitment to equipping the next generation with the skills and training needed to meet the challenges the UK faces in the coming years with the development of new digital technologies.
Gavin Patterson, chief executive of BT, said: “Technology is changing all the time and companies need to support and train young people to develop the skills required for successful careers in essential areas such as science, engineering and IT. The UK has been ranked as the leading digital economy in the G20 for the past five years, and our investment in these people will help this continue.”
Nick Boles, Minister for Skills, said: “Three million more apprenticeships by 2020 will create exciting opportunities for working people of all ages and help businesses around the country acquire the skills they need to compete.
“These apprenticeships at BT will offer people the hands on experience they need to succeed. I would encourage more businesses to follow their lead and hire apprentices.”
Farooq Hakim, BT’s North East regional director, described the recruitment as “more excellent news for our region”.
“These apprenticeships and graduate jobs offer great opportunities for people in the North East to be part of one of the world’s most exciting and rapidly-developing industries and one of the UK’s leading companies,” he said. “The new recruits will play a vital role in providing essential services and helping the region’s businesses and households make the most of technologies, which are transforming the way we live and work.
“High quality careers such as these are essential to the future success and prosperity of the North East.”
A large proportion of the apprenticeship and graduate intake will be based at BT’s world-recognised research campus Adastral Park, near Ipswich, in Suffolk. The research centre is at the forefront of developing future communications networks and services, including G.fast, which will be used to deliver ultrafast broadband in the coming years.
A third of the new apprentices will be recruited into Openreach, which builds and maintains the UK's local phone and broadband network. The new recruits there will be focussed on extending the fibre network, improving service and keeping Britain connected.
Clive Selley, chief executive of Openreach, said: “I’m delighted that Openreach is able to create so many opportunities for school and university leavers across the UK. It is vital that we invest in young people to ensure the UK remains a digital powerhouse. The new recruits will be at the heart of the company’s transformation.”
The 1,400 UK apprenticeship and graduate jobs announced today are in addition to the 1,700 the company has created over the past two years.
In the past year BT has also announced a commitment to improve the tech literacy skills of 400,000 primary school children in 2015/16 and reach five million young people by 2020. The commitment also includes delivering training to 15,000 primary school teachers across the UK.