BT plans to hire 400 apprentices to boost 5G

Saleha Riaz
·3-min read
The new roles are spread across a number of locations including Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Dundee, Edinburgh, Ipswich, London and Manchester. Photo: Getty Images
The new roles are spread across a number of locations including Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Dundee, Edinburgh, Ipswich, London and Manchester. Photo: Getty Images

BT Group (BT-A.L) plans to recruit more than 400 apprentices and graduates for its September 2021 intake across areas including engineering, customer service, and cyber-security to, in part, support the company’s plans to build and extend its 5G networks around the country.

The company slashed 3,600 full-time jobs in the first half of 2020 as part of a restructuring plan that saved it £352m ($481.7m) in the period.

Alison Wilcox, group HR director, said that “despite the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve continued to recruit and attract brilliant people from all walks of life into our business.”

BT has recruited more than 1,600 apprentices and graduates over the past 24 months and it said it is one of the largest private sector employers of apprentices in the UK.

The new roles are spread across a number of locations including Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Dundee, Edinburgh, Ipswich, London and Manchester.

Separately, BT subsidiary Openreach recently said it plans to create more than 2,500 full-time jobs in its service and network build divisions, as well as an estimated 2,800 positions in its UK supply chain.

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Lauding the move, education secretary Gavin Williamson said “apprenticeships form a key part of our new Skills for Jobs White Paper which will transform post-16 education and training, helping to deliver the skills individuals, businesses and the economy need to thrive after coronavirus.”

The white paper, published by the government, sets out reforms to post-16 technical education and training to support people to develop the skills needed to get good jobs and improve national productivity.

BT is also investing in several initiatives to support young jobseekers. These include BT’s Work Ready training scheme which provides opportunities for young people who aren't in employment, education or training and preparing them for the world of work.

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Work Ready is part of BT’s Skills for Tomorrow ambition which aims to help 10 million people in the UK develop the skills they need to make the most of life in the digital world.

Earlier this month, BT increased the free mobile data allowance it offers to schoolchildren in lockdown and has pledged to zero-rate some educational websites as part of a new scheme to help pupils and their families.

In October last year the telecoms giant increased the lower end of its earnings target for the year to £7.3bn despite reporting a decline over the past six months.

It told investors that adjusted earnings for the period to 30 September fell by 5% to £3.7bn after a drop in revenue, although this was partly offset by sports rights rebates.

Revenue for the half-year tumbled by 8% to £10.6bn, which it said was primarily caused by lower BT Sport sales and reduced business activity in its enterprise units.

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