The company’s recruitment drive for apprentices and graduates follows last week’s announcement that Openreach is looking to recruit 3,500 new engineers.
Prospect national secretary Philippa Childs said: “We know our manager members will welcome these initiatives from BT and Openreach, which are good for the future of the company and the wider economy. The graduates will be potential Prospect members, which is also good news for the union.
“The new BT scheme is being delivered in partnership with local colleges and universities to ensure apprentices and graduates receive the best education for their area of focus. More widely BT is also reaching out to schools and young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEETs).
“This chimes strongly with Prospect’s own campaigning to change young people’s career perceptions and encourage employers to attract people who are normally excluded from careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths), including girls and women.”
The new roles will be across the UK, including London, Glasgow, Belfast, Warrington, Bristol, Cardiff, Doncaster and Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and will include EE and Plusnet. Many will be based at BT’s labs at Adastral Park in Suffolk.
Tackle tech barriers
Childs also drew attention to research by BT and Accenture at the end of last year, which highlighted the impact of socio-economic background, gender and geography on levels of tech literacy well before people enter the workforce.
The study warned that without concerted effort from business, government and civil society, young, less-privileged people will face barriers to the tech revolution as they enter the workforce.
Yet, it said, individuals with higher levels of tech know-how earn more as their career progresses, with a “tech literacy wage premium” of £10,000 per year. The implied salary increase from these individuals could add around £11bn to UK GDP by 2022.
The data was gathered from 4,000 young people, aged 16-24, and 1,000 Gen Xers, aged 41-50, across the UK.