BT Cymru Wales, the Welsh Rugby Union and other major organisations came together today (Wednesday, 16 March) for National Apprenticeship Week.
The National Apprenticeship Week event at Principality Stadium gave apprentices, employers, schools, colleges, students and job seekers the opportunity to celebrate apprenticeships and to learn more about the many benefits they offer.
The event saw employers, such as BT, EE, GE Aviation, Delsion and the WRU, outline the positive impact that apprenticeships have on both the individual and the businesses in which they work.
Apprentices that currently work for BT the WRU, EE and GE Aviation also spoke to give an insight into their experiences in the work-place and explain how taking the apprenticeship route has benefited their careers.
BT currently employs 79 apprentices across Wales as part of a programme which has been running for 50 years.
Speaking before the event, Alwen Williams, BT Director for Wales, said: “BT understands that apprenticeships make sound business sense and therefore, apart from running our own programmes, we encourage and help our suppliers to recruit and develop apprentices.
“Having not gone down the university route myself, I appreciate that young people have a number of different options open to them when they start thinking about finding work. Taking an apprenticeship can be a very attractive and rewarding option.
“We treat apprentices as valuable employees from day one. Our apprentices regularly challenge our thinking, and are encouraged to do so; we can’t grow and change as a business without this vital input.”
WRU Chief Executive, Martyn Phillips, told the audience : “We have 11 guys on WRU apprenticeship programme and they are all doing really well and making a real and positive difference to the business. We want them to continue and to go on to bigger and better jobs, hopefully with us.”
“What I like about the BT programme is that all the apprenticeships look like good quality jobs right at the heart of what they do and that is what we try to do in Welsh rugby as well.”
Mark Davies, Chief Executive, Pro Rugby Wales said: "We have a unique and exciting partnership with BT Sport and BT Cymru Wales who give an unrivalled level of support and a real contribution to the competitiveness of the professional game in Wales and therefore to the National side.
"It's great to see BT celebrating its long-term investment and support of National Apprenticeships across its business and very positive to see so many young people being developed, realising their potential and enjoying work and the clear impact BT's Apprentices are having on BT's business community in Wales.
"We are equally proud of developing our players from within Wales through the best Academy systems in European Rugby and our development pathways are our future - just like BTs'."
Pupils from Fitzalan High School, Cowbridge comprehensive, Coleg Cymunedol y Dderwen, Ysgol Gyfun Rhydywaun, Pen-y-Dre High School and Bassaleg School all attended the event to learn more about the potential of apprenticeships as a future career path.-
BT recently announced that it was creating more than 60 new apprenticeship and graduate jobs in Wales this year as it invests heavily to ensure the UK remains one of the world’s leading digital economies.
Apprentices are expected to be recruited in Aberystwyth, Carmarthen, Cardiff, Haverfordwest, Machynlleth, Newport, Swansea and Wrexham, whilst locations where graduates are expected to be based include Cardiff.
They are among about 1,000 new apprentices and graduates being employed in a range of BT roles across the UK from cybersecurity and software development to research and innovation. The roles will be spread across the company with mobile phone operator EE and BT’s local network business, Openreach, both taking on large numbers as will BT’s research and development arm.
BT is investing billions of pounds on the roll out of superfast fibre broadband and some of the new recruits will work on that programme as the company seeks to help the UK maintain its leading position among major European nations.
Cyber security is an increasingly important area for governments and companies around the world. BT is one of the largest suppliers of cyber security solutions and the new recruits will bolster that business as it seeks to expand.