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News: ITP reveals plans for new telecoms apprenticeship scheme

ITP People

The first steps towards creating a brand new apprenticeship scheme for the telecoms industry have been taken, at a special event organised by the Institute of Telecommunications Professionals (ITP).

Industry leaders gathered together to discuss the value of apprenticeships, and ways they can be made accessible to smaller and medium-sized companies. Ann Potterton, CEO of the ITP, hosted the workshop.

Working with managers from the likes of BT, Cable & Wireless Worldwide and Vodafone, representatives from other businesses discussed the way apprenticeships could potentially move forward.

Senior-level staff from around 13 companies attended the event, and shared their views on what they would need from a new apprenticeship scheme, and how the ITP could help.

Ann Potterton, CEO of the ITP, said: “The larger players in telecoms, such as BT and Cable & Wireless Worldwide, already run successful apprenticeship schemes and already know the great benefits they bring to both the young people involved and the company itself. In these times of economic uncertainty, that value is greater than ever, reflected by the Government’s decision to create thousands of new apprenticeships.

“However, the feedback we have received from our members tells us that for medium-sized and smaller businesses, the overheads involved in apprenticeships currently make them unfeasible – they don’t have the manpower, training resources or finances to make them viable. Many of them would be interested in a new scheme, run by ourselves, where essentially we take the pressure off by organising training and dealing with the administration. This would allow those companies to reap the rewards of apprenticeships, which in turn would boost the whole industry by ensuring a constant flow of fresh telecoms talent.

“The workshop was an initial step towards that, and we very much enjoyed the valuable discussions that took place.”

Some of the key outcomes of the round-table event include:

  • That there is a real interest from medium-sized and smaller employers in hosting apprentices
  • That the ITP needs to make the process straightforward, removing the bureaucratic and administrative burden
  • That a quality programme is needed, representing an industry standard
  • That a high-quality recruitment process is required to ensure great candidates

Dave Davis, from NSSLGlobal, said: “As a former apprentice, I’ve considered the option of taking on apprentices before, but it’s never been viable because of the impact on organisational and administrative resources. It was really interesting to hear about the ITP's new scheme, and I’m keen to see how it develops and whether it helps businesses like NSSLGlobal enjoy the mutual benefits of apprenticeships.”

 Antony Bacon, from Cable & Wireless Worldwide, said: "This is a fantastic venture - the telecoms industry needs an industry standard programme driven by the needs of the industry, and the Institute of Telecommunications is uniquely placed to help employers create this. The workshop was a great first step and I think a lot of us will be interested in getting involved and seeing what happens next.”

 Bob Soper-Dyer from BT added: “BT has a long and strong tradition of employing apprentices and knows the many benefits that our apprenticeship scheme brings to us as a company and the young people we employ. The ITP scheme, although in its early stages of design, is a positive step for the telecoms sector as a whole and will help smaller telecoms companies to benefit from apprenticeship schemes. We are really pleased to share our experience and knowledge with ITP in support of the initiative which hopefully will lead to the creation of new career opportunities for young people.”

The workshop was just the first step, and the ITP plans to follow up on the discussions with the following:

  • Consultation with experienced employers and training providers to create proposed detailed outlines for a technical and commercial scheme, which will include a 'core programme' and options to allow for tailoring for different employer needs
  • A follow up session with employers to review the proposed outlines and agree programmes that are right for the industry
  • Discussions with the National Apprenticeship Service and the Government to elicit more information on the funding
  • Meetings with further interested employers

The ITP is the leading professional body for the telecommunications industry. You can find out more in the notes below, or by visiting www.theitp.org

For more media information, contact Katy Bland on 01932 788861, or KatyBland@theitp.org.

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