Young people check out the tech on visit to BT

The first of three apprenticeship assessment days was held at BT's Adastral Park research and innova

The first of three apprenticeship assessment days was held at BT's Adastral Park research and innovation centre at Martlesham today. Picture: DAVID VINCENT - Credit: Archant

Youngsters have visited BT’s Adastral Park research centre for the chance to impress – and even grab an apprenticeship on the site.

The first of three apprenticeship assessment days was held at BT's Adastral Park research and innova

The first of three apprenticeship assessment days was held at BT's Adastral Park research and innovation centre at Martlesham today. Picture: DAVID VINCENT - Credit: Archant

There are almost 50 apprenticeship spaces available on the 100-acre site and for the first time applicants were invited along for an assessment day, interviews and to find out more about opportunities at the research and innovation centre.

Lisa Perkins, Adastral Park's research and realisation director, said: "This is about giving people opportunities.

"There are many opportunities here with BT and with 30 companies in the tech cluster. This is a gateway on that journey at Adastral Park.

"Over the three days the applicants will do on-line assessments, interviews and be assessed in groups, working within a team."

The first of three apprenticeship assessment days was held at BT's Adastral Park research and innova

The first of three apprenticeship assessment days was held at BT's Adastral Park research and innovation centre at Martlesham today. Picture: DAVID VINCENT - Credit: Archant

There are also opportunities with the University of Suffolk as part of a new partnership on site with the institution.

The university has received a £6.4m grant to develop a learning and research centre at Martlesham which is currently in the planning stages.

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"The university will have a presence on the site in September," she added.

These apprentice days follow on from an open event in April to "de-mystify" the centre for young people.

The visits were hosted by current BT apprentices, including Anna Goodchild and Blesssam Samuel, both in their first years, but from very different routes.

Mr Samuel, 20, who is involved in equipment testing, is from Stowmarket and arrived from Suffolk One sixth form. He said: "I am really enjoying it.

"I have always been interested in tech. Now I am doing a four-year apprenticeship, it is really great.

"I did think about university and did all the research into it, but this was a no-brainer.

"You get a full degree at the end of it."

Amy Goodchild, 24, arrived at BT having completed a psychology degree.

"I wanted something where I could build a career. This is really interesting and you get a salary too."

She is working in network operations. Already this week she has been working on the world-wide network, dealing with France, Poland and Copenhagen.

"It is different every day and we are learning so much."

Former apprentice Jared Easter arrived six years ago after school in Ipswich and is now qualified.

He said: "I work in research and innovation now. I am 100% sure this was the best career decision. This made far more sense to me than university and I have not put myself in debt."

Among the hopefuls were Sam Peckham-Milton, who has been working in retail, and Louis Winder, both looking for career changes.

Mr Winder said: "I've friends working at BT. l've worked for Samsung and in customer service."

Mr Peckham-Milton added: "I wanted to take a step forward, it is time to start doing something new."