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One-time national telco punts 1,000 new apprentice and grad jobs

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BT is on the hunt for around 300 freshly qualified science, biz and IT graduates to work in research and development for the telecoms giant, but it might have a tough time finding enough skilled young folk to fill the posts, it has warned.

The company is hoping to recruit a further 730 bods to take on apprenticeships in engineering, software design, IT support, finance and logistics as part of its recruitment drive, which was unsurprisingly given ministerial approval from business secretary Vince Cable today. That takes the figure to 1,030 graduates.

"There’s a danger that not enough people in the UK are getting the training they need to work in research, development and innovative new industries," said BT's technology, service and operations boss Clive Selley.

He said that BT - which chucked £3.7bn at R&D over the last five years as part of its shift into direct competition with pay-TV mammoth BSkyB - would mentor and train newbies to get them up to scratch with tech such as digital media and fibre optic broadband.

The one-time national telco's chief Gavin Patterson promised that BT would additionally provide up to 1,500 short vocational training and work experience placements for unemployed 18- to 24-year-olds over the next 18 months.

“This is a tough time in the job market, with almost a million young people across the UK struggling to find work," Patterson said. "Every company needs to play its part in ensuring that Britain’s future workforce isn’t impaired by long-term unemployment."

Rival Virgin Media recently said it had employed 116 young people from its apprenticeship scheme.

In 2013, Britain's university admission service UCAS received 99,165 applications for computer sciences, of which only about one in five, or 21,710 people, were accepted onto the course.

If we take that figure as given - and set aside any flunkers from those courses - then BT is proposing to roughly scoop up nearly five per cent of the country's IT grads. ®

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