BT Slated For Axing Graduate Scheme

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BT’s decision to cancel this year’s graduate recruitment programme is tough on new graduates, and will rebound against the telecom giant, says a recruiters’ organisation

An organisation which represents recruiters said that BT’s decision to cut its graduate recruitment scheme for 2010 would create difficult conditions for potential new entrants to the workplace.

In a statement released today, the Association of Graduate Recruiters said that it did not know why BT had decided to cut the scheme but that it would have “tough” repercussions for students.

“We are not aware of the reasoning behind BT’s decision to cancel its graduate recruitment scheme in 2010 but it is important to look at this news in context,” said Carl Gilleard, chief executive of the AGR.

The organisation said that the suspension of the scheme should only be temporary, and BT along with other employers should reintroduce their schemes when the economy finally recovers.

“Whilst we cannot hide from the fact that dramatic vacancy cuts will make the job search very tough for graduates both this year and probably next year, very few employers have abandoned their graduate recruitment programmes altogether, and most are likely to reinstate recruitment levels at the first sign of an upturn in the economy,” said Gilleard.

According to BBC reports, BT has decided to suspend its graduate scheme for 2010. “In light of the current economic environment and headcount pressures, BT has taken the decision to cease graduate recruitment activity and are no longer running a graduate recruitment programme,” a company spokesperson told the BBC.

The AGR added that companies should avoid responding to the downturn with short actions which could jeopardise the ability to recover from the recession.

“Past experience tells us that businesses that close their graduate talent pipeline, even for a short period, find themselves at a commercial disadvantage when the upturn comes as they do not have the talent in place to respond quickly to improved market conditions and it takes time to fill the vacuum that pulling out of the graduate market has created,” the organisation said.

In May, BT announced that it planned to lay off 15,000 staff after it reported an annual loss of £134m. The company has already shed around 15,000 jobs this year which was about 5000 more than had been expected by industry watchers.

Union leaders reacted to the news of further losses at the telecoms company with a statement which called on BT to deliver on its promise that the staff cuts would be voluntary and made through natural attrition.

“We’re working closely with the company to ensure any losses are voluntary and we’re looking at new ways of finding new work and retaining permanent employees, including secondment agreements,” said Andy Kerr, deputy general secretary of the Communications Workers Union.

Earlier this month, Government backed IT skills council e-skills UK announced

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a programme designed to get more companies to hire technical graduates and help them gain business experience. The “e-skills internship” scheme – which has the backing of companies including BA, Google and IBM.


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