ntl:Telewest Tells Apprentices ‘You’re Hired’ Despite Difficult Recovery

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ntl:Telewest appears to agree with graduate recruitment groups, which say businesses risk their own future if they cut back on hiring new talent

Telecoms company ntl:Telewest has released details of a graduate recruitment scheme which it says will ensure the long term future of its organisation.

In a statement released this week, the telecoms company – part of the Virgin Media Group – said 29 apprentices are currently undergoing training in business and sales, despite the tough economic conditions which have forced other companies to abandon graduate recruitment in a bid to cut costs.

“Especially in challenging times it’s vital to take action to attract the brightest talent to a business, as these are the people who will ensure its long-term future,” said ntl:Telewest Business’s Lee Hull, who led the recruitment programme. “We realised that the leaders of tomorrow are naturally attracted to opportunities that offer clear paths for career progression so invested in a structured programme to deliver just that.”

The company claims the 29 graduates have already been trained in telesales and marketing and will move into other departments within the business before eventually moving into sales positions with the organisation. The graduates were selected from over a hundred potential candidates in assessment days held in England and Scotland.

In August last year, rival telecoms company BT was criticised for axing its own graduate recruitment scheme. The Association of Graduate Recruiters said at the time that it did not know why BT had decided to cut the scheme but that it would have “tough” repercussions for students. “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 at the time.

In the same month, the Government-backed IT skills council, e-skills UK, announced 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 – encourages companies to take on graduates for paid employment to help them get access to the real-world skills that companies increasingly need, the organisation claims.

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.

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