BT helps creates over 560 new IT apprenticeships for small businesses

More than 560 new IT apprenticeships for young people have been created within 367 businesses across England over the last year, thanks to a partnership between BT, the National Skills Academy for IT and training provider, NITP. 

Working together, the partnership pioneered an employer-led approach, which has encouraged SMEs to recruit IT apprentices and boosted their confidence in them. For many, this was the first time recruiting an apprentice and 79% of companies say they are likely to consider apprenticeships again in the future. 

It also saw an improvement in job satisfaction amongst young people, resulting in an above average retention rate of 87%. A similar proportion of apprentices (86%) say they now intend to pursue a career in IT when their training ends. 

The partnership identified three technology job roles that are in demand amongst smaller firms – database analyst, IT technician and software/web developer – and created a training programme to give young people both the technical and soft skills needed to excel in them. 

This training was delivered by NITP at further education colleges in 11 English towns and cities, and was quality assured by BT to ensure the framework delivery met the standard of BT’s own award-winning scheme. To boost the apprentices’ communication, problem solving and team working expertise, the IT Skills Academy offered additional professional development activities, including industry talks and networking events at BT in London and the BBC in Salford. 

Damian Brown, Head of Accredited Learning, BT says: “Apprenticeships are a core part of BT’s talent strategy as they ensure BT maintains and develops a highly skilled workforce. Through this partnership, we’ve been able to share our experiences with smaller firms, helping many more realise the benefits that apprentices can bring and start hiring their own.” 

Peter Marples, Director, NITP says, “We've been delighted to be at the heart of a partnership that is making such a difference to the lives of young people, and that is providing first-rate skills for employers. Employers now know that quality apprenticeships can provide a pipeline of highly skilled talent into their companies – we now need these employers to be ambassadors for apprenticeships and spread the word about the sustainable and fulfilling employment they provide.” 

Patrick Beasley, Apprenticeships Project Director, National Skills Academy for IT, adds: “Our aim is to make apprenticeships as popular a route into IT careers as graduate entry. The appetite for them is there from young people, but we need to get more companies offering them. By taking an employer-led approach and designing apprenticeships to meet businesses’ needs, we’ve succeeded in getting many more involved.” 

Beyond the creation of the new apprenticeships, the partnership is expected to have a significant, long-term economic impact. With many smaller firms reporting difficulties filling specialist roles, the young people who have already completed their apprenticeships through the partnership are estimated to create an additional £2.3 million in GVA for the UK economy over the next 10 years. This is due to savings in recruitment time and costs, plus increases in productivity thanks to their skills. This figure is predicted to rise to £9.75 million once the remaining apprentices finish their training. 

In-depth case studies about the employers benefiting from this new approach to apprenticeships are available at www.itskillsacademy.ac.uk/apprenticeships/casestudies

The partnership received co-investment from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) via the Growth and Innovation Fund. 


Notes to editor 

About the National Skills Academy for IT 
The National Skills Academy for IT is an independent, not-for-profit organisation whose mission is to promote excellence in IT professional learning and development. The IT Skills Academy is a subsidiary of e-skills UK. 

About e-skills UK 
e-skills UK is a not-for-profit, employer-led organisation whose mission is to ensure the UK has the skills it needs to thrive in the global information economy. Its Boards bring together the CEOs of leading employers in the IT sector, CIOs of employers across all sectors, and representatives of small companies. 

About NITP 
NITP, part of Aspire Achieve Advance Ltd, is a training organisation specialising in the delivery of IT apprenticeships across the country. NITP is providing the next generation of IT professionals through the delivery of specialised, high quality level 3 apprenticeship training, including professional qualifications, working in partnership with further education colleges. NITP is one of the National Skill Academy for IT’s approved training partners.