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Degree Partnerships

BT uses Apprenticeship Levy to attract digital apprentices

BT have been attracting high-calibre digital apprentices after partnering with the University of Exeter on the delivery of Degree Apprenticeships.

Degree Apprenticeships offer an innovative and cost-effective way of attracting, training and retaining high-calibre employees and graduates to your business. Any organisation that pays the apprenticeship levy is able to hire an apprentice to recoup the investment already made.

Carol Fletcher, Head of Academic and Research Partnerships at global communications giant BT, said: “As an employer we pay a lot in levy funds each year and it is in our interest to work out how best to use this money. Apprenticeships are a really exciting opportunity for us to mould apprentices into what best suits our business needs, and a great opportunity for the apprentice to earn valuable industry experience while gaining a degree.”

Carol chose to partner with the University of Exeter as we are a Russell group institution and are already delivering the programme to many different companies from a variety of industries.
BT have recruited apprentices for two consecutive years to the four-year programme, with our cohort spread across two departments.

However it hasn’t always been plain sailing. Carol explained: “Being a manager at BT during the running of the programme has been a learning experience, particularly as we weren’t used to employing 18-year olds.

“The relationship with Exeter has been fantastic. We know that we can always email or phone the Degree Apprenticeships team and they will respond promptly to support us in overcoming any problems.”

She added: “Our feedback is always listened to which has been really important to us.”

The partnership is developing and BT intends to recruit more apprentices each year.

In conjunction with the apprenticeship programme BT have also developed research relationships, and have PhD students with Exeter.

Carol said: This is something we expect to continue and grow.

“We are involved in the Level 7 Data Science trailblazer and would be keen to develop our relationship with Exeter in this area.”

She added: “In general, we are interested in the variety of potential business partnership offerings that we can develop in the future with Exeter, not just apprenticeships.”