Skills Minister Launches IBM Apprentice Scheme

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With students protesting over the rising costs of tuition fees, IBM has launched an apprenticeship scheme

IBM is looking to offer school leavers an alternative to university, after it launched the IBM apprenticeship scheme.

The scheme is offering fifteen apprenticeships for students looking for an immediate career in IT, rather than face years of debt by opting for university.

Applicants must have eight GCSEs plus two ‘A’ levels, and they will receive two year’s training as IT specialists, as well as being offered permanent employment.

Government Investment

“This government recognises that skills training must keep up with the fast pace of technological change,” said Skills Minister John Hayes, speaking at the launch of the scheme. “That’s why the government is not just expanding the apprenticeships programme by investing an additional £250 million, but also improving the scope and quality of apprenticeships so they deliver the more advanced learning and practical experience that firms like IBM demand.”

“IBM’s new apprentices will gain invaluable skills that will help them take forward their own careers in the ICT sector,” Hayes added. “And every firm that makes this investment in its people will help ensure its future prosperity as well as that of the wider economy.”

“I am determined to seed apprenticeships in every part of the country, to spread opportunity, grow the nation’s economy and produce a bigger society,” he said.

“IBM is continually looking to develop and invest in its future leaders and the Apprenticeship Scheme is a great opportunity to engage with a new pool of talent,” said Stephen Leonard, Chief Executive, IBM UK and Ireland.

Alternative To Uni

And he made it very clear that IBM was offering this scheme as an alternative to university.

“We recognise that studying for a university degree isn’t for everyone,” said Leonard. “The scheme is a way for individuals who are keen to dive straight into the world of work to join a vibrant and forward thinking company whilst still working for a recognised qualification.”

The government is making apprenticeships one of the key focuses of its skills strategy. By 2014-15, the government will expand the numbers of adult apprenticeships available by up to 75,000, leading to in excess of 200,000 starts a year.

Other Schemes

The IBM Apprenticeship Scheme is not quite yet at the same scale as other schemes, such as the one offered by BT.

In October the UK carrier added another 200 apprentice jobs on top of the 221 apprentice roles in 2010 it already has, in an effort to help the carrier with its rollout of fibre services in the UK.

BT had experienced some criticism last year when it announced that it was cancelling its graduate recruitment programme in 2009. However in September this year it was reinstated and returned to the university milk-round circuit, with the decision to seek 133 recruits for its 2011 graduate scheme.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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