BT has been awarded the highest-ever grades for its apprenticeship schemes, in an independent review from training body Education Scotland, beating a number of apprenticeships in IT and Communications offered by colleges, training and employers.
The telecom firm’s apprenticeship programme was graded ‘Excellent’ – the top-end of a six-point scale – in all five areas during the review. The areas of evaluation are:
- How well are apprentices progressing and achieving relevant, high quality outcomes?
- How well does the organisation meet the needs of its apprentices and stakeholders?
- How good is the delivery of training?
- How good is the management of training delivery?
- How good is the strategic leadership?
Brendan Dick, Director of BT Scotland, asserted that the findings mirrored BT’s commitment to building a strong workforce. Dick said: “Modern Apprentices are the lifeblood of our business and we work hard to make sure they get the best possible grounding whether they’re headed for a career in engineering, customer service, mechanics or cyber security.
“Modern Apprenticeships are a great choice for individuals who want to learn as they earn, but they also bring skills into the workforce that benefit the wider Scottish economy.
“We work very closely with Skills Development Scotland on our Modern Apprenticeship programme, and we could not have done this without the fantastic support they provide.”
The overall quality of the apprenticeship was judged against three outcomes: ‘Outcomes and Impact’, ‘Service Delivery and Leadership’ and ‘Quality Culture’.
According to BT, the inspectors found that achievement rates among BT Modern Apprentices were significantly higher than the rest of the ICT sector and the national average. Their final report also highlighted BT’s collaborative efforts with other technological organisations, and their commitment to potentially delivering degree-level programmes at Scottish universities in the near future.
Brendan added, however, that there was still some distance to go in terms of gender-balance in the organisation. Dick said: “The review has highlighted as an area for development the need to increase our number of female Modern Apprentices. We’ll be looking at what more can be done to encourage women into careers in IT and communications, which ties in with our long-term commitment to help build a culture of tech literacy in the UK.”
BT currently employs more than 320 apprentices in Scotland, with 185 working in Openreach and the rest in other sectors of the business, including 44 in BT Business and Public Sector and 29 with EE.