IT Apprenticeships for Youth Employment in Scotland

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The UK is combating youth unemployment, in part, through apprenticeship schemes. One company in particular, BT, will launch 1000 new apprenticeships and graduate schemes throughout the UK this year. They will also offer “Degree Apprenticeships,” where participants can work while they pursue Honours Degrees. BT has programmes in a variety of areas, including engineering, ICT and Telecoms.

These apprenticeship programmes will also help Scotland fulfill the goals of its ICT and Digital Technologies Skills Investment Plan, which began in March 2014. This Plan focuses particularly on including more women in ICT jobs throughout Scotland. Between 2001 and 2011, the number of women accepted to ICT-related tertiary education courses dropped from 30% to 17%, something they consider a serious issue.

Brendan Dick, Director of BT Scotland recognizes that this is still a challenge in the country. “I think it’s getting better,” he says. “The software industry is a good example, and obviously we bring in a lot of people to do that, as well as IT and engineering in the field. It is heading in the right direction but I think we all need to work very hard at it, to be honest.”

“If we’re not looking at that talent pool at a 100 per cent level, we’re not doing our job right,” Brendan says. “We need to maximise the potential of female talent in these areas. How do you that? Partly it is about industry working harder with the government to help create the right understanding that there are fantastic careers in STEM subjects for males and females – and secondly recognising the fact females are equally competent at doing them, indeed are better in some areas.”

BT is committed to bringing more women into engineering and ICT roles. Lyndsay Waugh is one of these women, who left her nursing career to become a BT apprentice software engineer. “I loved working as a nursery nurse but I wanted more of a challenge and to learn something new. For me the BT Apprenticeship Scheme was an amazing opportunity as it allowed me to work full-time as well as study for my degree,” she says.

Rebecca Watt also switched careers through BT’s engineering apprentice programme, working with phone lines, broadband, and BT TV services after leaving her job as a beauty therapist.

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Source: The Herald Scotland