BT to create more than 150 apprenticeship and graduate jobs at Adastral Park

BT's Adastral Park research and development site at Martlesham Heath.
Picture: Mike Page

BT's Adastral Park research and development site at Martlesham Heath. Picture: Mike Page - Credit: Archant

Telecoms giant BT plans to create more than 300 new apprenticeship and graduate jobs across the East of England as part of a UK-wide recruitment drive involving a total of more than 1,300 roles.

Tim Whitley, chairm of BT's East of England regional board.

Tim Whitley, chairm of BT's East of England regional board. - Credit: Archant

Around half of the new jobs in the East ‒ more than 150 out of a region-wide total of 312 ‒ will be based at Adastral Park, BT’s research and development hub at Martlesham Heath, near Ipswich, with other positions to be located in Essex and Hertfordshire.

The roles are in addition to last week’s announcement by BT’s networks business, Openreach, that it is looking to recruit around 3,500 engineers, including 430 to be based in the East of England.

Opportunities for apprentices and graduates will include roles in TV production and cyber-security as well as engineering and customer service.

Adastral Park is playing a leading role in the development of artificial intelligence, ultrafast broadband and 5G technologies.

Gavin Patterson, chief executive of BT.
Photo: BT

Gavin Patterson, chief executive of BT. Photo: BT - Credit: Archant

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BT says the recruitment process will include candidates being asked to complete a series of virtual reality-based tasks, with assessments including analytical skills and how they handle change, as well as their drive and enthusiasm to get tasks completed.

Tim Whitley, chair of BT’s East of England regional board, said: “This recruitment is more great news for our region.

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“It underlines the leading role that BT plays in communities across the East of England and is a tribute to the quality of our local staff. They play a vital role in providing essential products and services for the households and businesses of the East of England, as well as, of course, being part of these local communities themselves.

“As one of the region’s leading employers and investors, BT is committed to providing high quality jobs and careers and this latest recruitment will help ensure we deliver the best possible services for the people of the East of England.”

Gavin Patterson, chief executive of BT, said: “We’re proud to be leading the industry by investing in training a huge number of people in the digital skills that the UK economy so vitally needs.

“BT has a rich history of innovation, and it’s an incredibly exciting time to be joining the company as we look towards growing our cyber-security business, developing 5G technologies and enhanced TV content.

“Our apprenticeship and graduate scheme will equip people with the skills and on the job training they will need to succeed in the future. I’m looking forward to welcoming all our new recruits into the business.”

BT Group is one of the UK’s largest employers with 82,800 people based in the UK and around 10,000 in the East of England. The new roles, which include positions within EE and Plusnet, are spread across the country.

The announcement was welcomed by the Prime Minister, Theresa May, who said: “More high-quality apprenticeships means more young people with the vital skills and training to take advantage of the economic opportunities of the future.

“Our modern Industrial Strategy, in conjunction with business, will help drive developments in fields like Artificial Intelligence and cyber technology – meaning more high-tech jobs and greater prosperity for people across the country.”

Many of the apprentices will also achieve foundation and full degrees as part of their work at BT, while some graduates will also achieve fully funded qualifications. The scheme is delivered in partnership with local colleges and universities to ensure that apprentices and graduates receive the best education for their area of focus, as well as the hands-on experience and training.

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