BT to take on 500 graduates and apprentices

Seven young adults from the BT Group apprenticeship program sitting round a board table
(Image credit: BT Group)

BT Group has announced plans to take on more than 500 apprentices and graduates in its September 2024 intake.

The company says it’s looking for people in a number of areas, including software engineering, customer service, applied research, data analytics and cybersecurity. There are 557 jobs up for grabs in total – 111 graduate and 446 apprentice roles.

The new jobs will be spread across a number of offices that form part of BT Group’s Better Workplace Programme, which BT says is the largest workplace improvement program and consolidation scheme of its type ever undertaken in the UK.  

The locations include Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Darlington, Ipswich, Leeds, London, Manchester, Sheffield and Warrington.

"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 opportunities to those who join us," says Elaine Bergin, BT Group's director of colleague experience.

"As we build a better BT Group, we’re developing a pipeline of future talent to help grow our business, deliver great outcomes for our customers and to help underpin economic growth in the UK."

The company says it has recruited more than 3,000 apprentices and graduates over the past five years and last year it was ranked second in the Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers in the UK. The latest cohort is over 25% larger than in 2023, when the company recruited 422 new graduates and apprentices

The apprenticeships available this year will range from level two, the equivalent to GCSE standard, through to level seven, which is the equivalent of a master’s degree.

The rocky history of 21st century apprenticeships

Back in 2017, the government introduced an apprenticeship levy, paid by employers with a salary bill of over £3 million ($3.8 million). These organizations pay 0.5% of their total annual salary bill into the levy fund, and can then spend their funds on their own apprenticeship training and assessment costs or transfer them to another employer.


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However, an inquiry led by Lord Knight and Lord Willetts last year found that engineering and technology-related apprenticeship starts for 16 to 18-year-olds had fallen by 22% since 2016-2017, with new starts by both 19 to 24-year-olds and those over 25 fell by 6%. 

Their report recommended that the government should rebalance education to give equal status to technical and academic pathways, provide better support for young people and ensure long-term funding for apprenticeships at all levels, as well as greater equity between vocational and academic routes.

Smaller businesses should also be given more encouragement to take on apprentices, found the report, and employers should be more proactive.

Last September, the government put its money where its mouth is by announcing plans to recruit 2,500 tech and digital roles via apprenticeships and talent programmes by June 2025.

More information on how to apply for BT's apprenticeship and graduate job schemes is available here.

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance journalist writing for publications including the BBC, Private Eye, Forbes, Raconteur and specialist technology titles.