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5 March 2015, 07:20
Telecoms giant BT is to create 1,000 new apprenticeships and graduate jobs this year, offering careers ranging from business analysis to software development.
The places will be spread across the country in cities including Glasgow, London, Belfast, Cardiff, Newcastle, Manchester and Leeds.
BT is also providing up to 1,000 vocational training and work experience placements for unemployed youngsters.
The company said some new recruits will begin new degree apprenticeships from September, allowing them to complete full honours degrees while working.
Many of the apprentice and graduate intake will be based at BT's research site near Ipswich.
Gavin Patterson, Chief Executive of BT, said: "The UK's future as a technology leader hinges on young people getting the skills, support and training they need to create successful careers in science, engineering and IT.
"I'm thrilled that BT will be offering so many opportunities for apprentices, graduates and trainees this year, and that they will start their careers at such an exciting time in the company's history.
"These new recruits will have the opportunity to work in fields such as technology research, engineering, IT and TV, helping to create and build the next generation of communications technologies for the UK.''
Prime Minister David Cameron said: "I'm delighted that BT is creating 1,000 new apprenticeships and graduate jobs. Today's announcement underlines BT's commitment to training young people and gives them the security of a monthly pay packet and the chance of a better future.
"Backing those who want to work hard and get on with the skills they need to succeed is a key part of our long-term economic plan to secure Britain's recovery.''
Business Secretary Vince Cable, said: "These new apprenticeships will give hundreds of young people and adults the chance to begin a successful career at one of the country's leading employers.
"Apprenticeships are a fast-track route in to the workplace, and can take you almost anywhere, even offering the chance to gain a degree on the job.''
Most parents agree apprenticeships are a good option for young people and believe more placements should be on offer, according to a report.
A survey of 1,000 parents of 15 and 16-year-olds by think tank Demos showed that fewer than one in five had been spoken to about apprenticeships by their child's school.
Only one in three believed an apprenticeship would be best for their son or daughter, with over half saying university would be a better option.
A year-long commission on apprenticeships held by Demos made a number of recommendations, including offering all students aged 14-16 the chance to take a vocational subject.
Ian Wybron, researcher at Demos, said: "All the major political parties agree we need to do more to promote high-quality apprenticeships, so it's disheartening to see that so few parents and students are given the information they need to make an informed choice about them.
"Schools, businesses and policymakers should work together to promote apprenticeships as a first-rate option to be considered by all young people.''