Graduate skills help BT technicians beat the recession

Photo of Jerry Comber, Apprentice Lead for BT Operate, and Dave Newham, Third Year Apprentice Coach, pictured with the graduating apprentice technicians at their awards ceremony.

The first cohort of BT apprentice technicians to receive tailored training at University while working on the job, have just graduated with top quality foundation degrees while securing full time positions with the company.

The group stand out against the recession, as not only do they have full time employment with BT as Technicians, but they can also return to Staffordshire University at any point to top up their qualifications and receive a full degree in Computer Networks and Security.

BT approached Staffordshire University in 2006 when it identified a need for a group of apprentices to expand their technical skills to work in specialist areas of the company.

Created in partnership with Accenture Learning, BT, E-Skills UK, Stoke on Trent College, the new foundation degree was created by the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Technology at the University, and is designed around BT’s specific requirements to equip their apprentices with the knowledge, understanding and transferable skills required for them to be successful in their field throughout the future.

Jerry Comber, Apprentice Lead for BT Operate said: “This group of apprentices are the first ever to get a Foundation degree through this collaboration with BT and Staffordshire University.”
“It has been a huge success and we are really pleased to be celebrating their achievements - we hope they are the first of many intakes to come.”

The two and a half year course is taught at Stoke on Trent College for the University, and students can continue in their full time employment while they obtain their degrees through part time study.
As well as allowing BT’s apprentice staff to gain professional development, the foundation qualification also provides them with a route to carry on with a one semester bridging course, to achieve a full degree in Computer Networks and Security in the future if they wish.

Jerry Comber said: “By allowing our apprentices to study part time while continuing in theirs roles full time, they are getting the most out of studying with work based learning and we know we have now got high quality employees, with recognised qualifications and no study related debts .”
“It feels like quite a momentous day and it is great to see them all graduate.  Everyone at the company is very proud of their achievements.”

For more information about BT Apprenticeships please visit


Judy O'Brien
University Communications Manager
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t: +44 (0)1782 294345
e: j.l.o'