Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

BT Apprenticeship – The Facts

Apprenticeships are a core part of BT’s talent strategy as they ensure BT maintains and develops a highly skilled workforce

BT’s Current Apprenticeship Schemes

Apprenticeships are a core part of BT’s talent strategy as they ensure BT maintains and develops a highly skilled workforce. BT has had an apprenticeship scheme in place for over 50 years. Currently it delivers 11 different apprenticeships across the business, in IT, engineering, finance and customer service.

The programmes range between two - four years depending on the type of qualifications and skilling area. Applicant requirements vary depending on the role you are applying for.

Qualifications Gained

Higher apprenticeships, which are level 4/5 programme, provide a direct alternative to university study.  BT’s Higher Apprenticeships include a foundation degree which may be supplemented by further study to a full honours degree qualification.  Alongside the academic study, a competence qualification proves that the apprentice is able to apply his or her learning in the workplace.

BT has recently taken  school leavers into a finance managers programme which will allow them to progress to a Level 7 CIMA qualification, we are planning to create an apprenticeship opportunity from this and , if successful, target more young people into finance.

BT’s apprenticeship programmes are award winning, and we also received an ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted Inspection in 2012.

BT expects to offer around 600 apprenticeship places for the 2013 financial year

BT has recently announced its further commitment to the scheme with 400 more apprenticeships places being offered this year. These apprentices will focus on installing new fibre broadband connections in customers’ homes during their first year, before going on to learn the full range of engineering tasks in the remaining months. In addition BT expects to recruit another 150-200 apprentices for other roles in the business in the coming year.

These additional places are on top of the 460 apprentices in the current financial year (ending March 31, 2013) having received 18,500 applications – more than 40 for each available position.

Job opportunities at BT are extensive for an apprentice 

Some people think being an apprentice means you are restricted to a specific job once you have completed the apprenticeship. This is not the case at BT, not only are apprenticeships available for a variety of fields: IT, engineering, finance and customer service, but the subsequent roles apprentices can go onto at the company are diverse

For more information and to apply to be a BT Apprentice, go to:

BT is also supporting young people to get jobs through other ways:

Creating apprenticeships with SME’s

The high numbers of applicants for each apprenticeship demonstrates the need  more schemes, which is why BT is also currently working with e-Skills UK and The National IT Partnership for IT (NITP) to deliver  ‘National Skills Academy for IT Gold Standards’ apprenticeships to SMEs. Together they are working to create 550 new IT apprenticeship jobs by September 2013. BT is providing a Quality Assurance service, to ensure the framework delivery is at the standard BT would expect for its own apprentices.

Working with Schools

BT is also working with three schools to help provide employment opportunities for the pupils. It is working with Manchester Communications Academy, Hackney University Technical College and The Hastings Academy.

BT sponsorship involves time and resource including the provision of a project director in Manchester and Hastings to support the establishment of the Academy.

BT people sit on the governing bodies, help with the design of the curriculum, provide careers advice and guidance to the students and aim to assist those leaving the Academies to get employment both within BT and other organisations.

Quotes on Apprenticeships

Damian Brown, Head of Accredited Learning at BT:

 “We value Apprentices because young people bring new skills and innovation to the business. They are the life blood of the organisation as they help shape the future workforce of the company. At BT we think it is important to give young people an opportunity to get into work, to gain valuable skills and to have those skills recognised.

“The announcement to recruit 400 more apprentices into Openreach demonstrates our continuing and increased commitment to apprenticeships.

“Through the apprenticeship scheme young people join career paths that can, and often do, lead to senior management roles within the company. We want our customers to know that they are engaging with a professional workforce whose skills have been verified and recognised based on industry-wide standards.”

James Mellor, BT Higher Apprentice:

“An apprenticeship is a challenging, yet rewarding career choice. It allows you to learn new skills, and develop your existing ones too, while being paid.

At BT I’ve never been held back and I’m always pushing myself to be the best that I can be, with great support from those around me.

I’ve led on projects, improved processes and efficiency, while mentoring and coaching new apprentices, students and even my colleagues – all on top of my day job!”


Having completed my A Levels, I chose the apprenticeship route over a place at university. I joined BT as an apprentice one and a half years ago.  Why BT?  To be part of a globally recognised communications company that offers me a constructive future route. As well as receiving on the job training, I am studying a Foundation Degree (funded by BT!), completing a Level 4 NVQ, and I’m getting a salary.

The apprenticeship offers endless volunteering, networking and development opportunities. Thanks to the apprenticeship I have worked alongside the Barnet Education Business Partnership volunteering at schools where I have conducted mock job interviews with students and given them advice, coaching and feedback. I have also helped with the launch of the Camden Apprenticeship Club. 

It is a really rewarding experience volunteering at career fairs around London promoting the BT Apprenticeship scheme to students, parents and the community.

One of my proudest achievements over the past year and a half is being shortlisted for the WISE Women of Outstanding Achievement Award, in the Communication and Outreach category. It shows just what can be achieved as an Apprentice.

I was one of ten apprentices selected for a coaching programme sponsored by the Chairman of BT.  The programme has helped me to engage with the business even more, develop my capabilities and my personal skills.

Recently I have set up a Foodbank collection point in the BT building I work in. The food we collect is donated to our local Foodbank. We are supporting the Trussell Trust Foodbank that provides emergency food to people experiencing crisis in the UK.

If it wasn’t for BT I would not have had the chance to volunteer at BT London Live in Hyde Park. It was great to be a part of the Olympics and experience something that was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

BT has made all these exciting things possible. As an apprentice I have met amazing and inspiring people both in and outside of the company.

The support I receive is invaluable and being an apprentice at BT has pushed me to develop as a person, grow in confidence, and build on my skills.

BT is not just for people who want to be telephone engineers. There’s IT, business management, technical, research and so many more areas of work within its lines of business. As an apprentice you are a valuable asset to the company and the opportunities are endless.