BT announces apprentice recruitment drive despite looming cost cuts


The operator says it plans to hire over 400 apprentice and graduates in its September 2023 intake

This week, UK incumbent operator BT has announced that it is looking to foster the next generation of telecoms talent by bringing on board over 400 new recruits in the coming year.

The new apprentices and graduates will be recruited to work in a variety of areas within the business, including engineering, customer service, and cybersecurity.

These jobs will be made available at a variety of locations around the UK, primarily in Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Ipswich, Leeds, London, and Manchester.

BT notes that many of these offices are part of its ongoing Better Workplace Programme, a scheme first announced back in 2019 that sought to consolidate the company’s 300 offices into just 30 as part of broader cost cutting measures. The Programme, which is set to be completed next year, aimed to modernise these remaining locations, creating “future fit, high tech workspaces where colleagues can collaborate, innovate and deliver the best service for BT Group’s customers and for the business”.

It is also worth noting here that his hiring process will be undertaken with BT’s Manifesto in mind, aiming to more diversified workforce by 2030. As part of the plan, BT is targetting a 50:50 gender split within the workforce, as well as ethnic minority groups making up 25% of staff, and people with disabilities comprising 17%.

“As one of the largest private sector employers of apprentices and graduates in the UK, we continue to recruit and attract brilliant people into our business and we offer unparalleled development opportunities to those who join us,” said Athalie Williams, BT Group’s Chief Human Resources Officer. “Despite the current economic backdrop, we’re building a future pipeline of talent to help drive growth across our business, deliver great outcomes for all of our customers and to underpin economic growth in the UK.”

The operator says it has recruited over 2,600 apprentices and graduates over the last five years, with around 4,000 of the company’s staff working towards qualifications at any one time.

This announcement of further recruitment comes at a relatively delicate time for BT.

Last November, the company said that soaring energy prices would force it to seek even more cost savings by 2025 than previous expected, increasing targets from £2.5 billion to £3 billion. Some of these cost savings would “inevitably” be derived from a reduction in staff, according to BT CEO Philip Jansen.

It is also worth noting that BT has only recently settled a pay dispute with its existing engineers and call centre staff, which saw disgruntled workers vote for the first national strike action in 35 years. In November, BT agreed to settle the despute by offering staff a £1,500 pay rise.

Is the UK telecoms industry doing enough to nurture the next generation of telecoms talent? Join the operators in discussion at this year’s upcoming Connected North conference

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