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BT demonstrates its commitment to youth workforce


1,500 young people have already attended improved work experience placements

More than 1,500 young people have already benefitted from a BT work experience placement in the last year, since the telecommunications company joined Business in the Community’s “Work Inspiration” campaign.

Work Inspiration is a UK wide, employer led campaign co-ordinated by Business in the Community (BITC) which was launched on 15th September 2009 to mobilise businesses to make work experience more meaningful, relevant and inspiring for young people and therefore bridge the gap between the classroom and the world of work.

BT has been a keen supporter of the programme from the outset and an early adopter. BT Chairman, Sir Mike Rake committed to provide placements for 3,000 young people during the 2010/11 financial year, making it very clear that opportunities should present young people with an innovative and inspiring alternative to run-of-the-mill work experience placements.

Sir Mike said at the time: “We are very keen that young people have the chance to spend time with BT before they embark on their careers. Work placements can help young people decide where their future lies. We do this because it is good for our business, it is good for our employees and it is good for young people.”

A few months on and BT has reached a major milestone in the programme having reached half way to its target by providing 1,500 placements. Mick Keay, Project Director, BT Work Inspiration says: “We are exceptionally proud of this achievement. We have been able to give these young people real hands on experience and practical knowledge that we feel is invaluable as they prepare to plan for their future in an increasingly tough climate. It will help them to differentiate themselves from their peers and hopefully guide them in making future decisions about employment or further education.”

Participants have worked across the country and with employees across a range of work specialisms encompassing field engineering, research and development, call centre work, marketing and sales. A number even had the opportunity to present their ideas for sustainable business to Prince Charles as part of his round Britain tour to promote his START initiative.

Sam Marshall a student at Brentwood County High School who attended an event in October 2010 says that he had a fantastic time, “I personally took a huge amount away from the experience. The programme most definitely inspired me and got me thinking about my future career. “


Notes to editors:

Work Inspiration is one of a number of initiatives through which BT is committed to support the youth workforce throughout the recession and beyond. These include:

* An established apprenticeship scheme, which last year recruited over 200 young people, a figure which it will double this year in order to train young people to deliver BT’s ambitious fibre optic broadband roll-out. The programme offers a diverse range of career opportunities with guaranteed continued employment on completion. Its ‘skills escalator’ approach enables its apprentices to progress their career aspirations through practical experience in parallel with blocks of formal study which can take them up to degree level qualification.
* A graduate recruitment programme which has also been stepped up this year and is currently accepting applications for 133 vacancies worldwide in a variety of roles including marketing and media, technical and business management.
* A variety of summer placements offered to undergraduates and industrial placements of up to 48 weeks are also available.
* BT has also partnered in The b-live Employability Programme through which over 60,000 young people will be supported through a series of employer led projects providing high quality teaching resources that support the development of both functional and employability skills. The BT project, ’Digital Divide’, will help young people gain research and presentation skills and help them realise how communication brings communities across the globe together.
* In another partnership is with e-skills UK, the Sector Skills Council for Business and Information Technology, BT supports a range of projects designed to address the skills issues that inhibit growth of the technology sector. These include providing encouragement to young women to take up careers in engineering, developing new IT and business courses in schools and offering online mentoring for students.

Work Inspiration

Work Inspiration is a UK wide campaign lead by Business in the Community to help employers turn work experience into work inspiration. By becoming a Work Inspiration employer, business of any size and any sector show their intent to rethink the quality and quantity of their offer to the benefit of both the young people and the employees who volunteer to host them during a work inspiration placement. For further details


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