BT is building its own skills pipeline through Degree Apprenticeships
According to Bob Soper-Dyer, Head of BT Group Apprenticeship Programmes, tech and digital resources in TV and Radio operate like a “big club”, where they rotate around the industry, working for periods of time on specific projects and programmes.
Most are self-employed and they meet the market need for digital skills when new programmes are about to go into production. Once a show has been completed, the people that were employed will move away and look for a new opportunity. This makes it is difficult for companies to retain their digital skills.
Bob explains how BT are using degree apprenticeship programmes to build their own digital skills pipeline: ‘What BT are trying to do is to make the degree apprentices our ‘locked down bedrock’ of digital skills. It is much more cost-effective for BT to create our own digital pipeline within our TV section, than using external resources per programme.”
We take our degree apprentices right through the 4 years of their programme, ensuring they gain the specific skills needed by BT TV Media, with the intention of employing them full time at the end of their degree. The ambition of the degree apprenticeship programme is that having spent four years embedding themselves in BT, the apprentices will not want to jump onto this ‘roundabout’ of moving around from business to business’.
Degree apprentices at BT TV Media work in one of two roles: Technical management of the distribution of the network (the technical side of transmission); and in Media (the production and management of the TV programmes themselves). This year, BT took nine degree apprentices, who are working towards their degrees at Ravensbourne University. BT selected Ravensbourne because of the digital skill training they offer, and their ability to customise courses to BT’s specific requirements.
During their first year, they all undertake the same tech training, and in their second year will separate into one of the two specialist areas. The University assigns them projects, carried out as work-based learning. As their confidence and knowledge grows, their level of responsibility and day-to-day business involvement also increases in the workplace.
BT had very early involvement with the Tech Partnership in the development of the degree apprenticeship programme. BT wanted to ensure that they influenced the specification and also understood the process by which the programme had been designed and built. BT said the Tech Partnership was important in ensuring the degree apprenticeship gained wide-recognition of quality through its Gold standard. They hope to recruit another eight degree apprentices next year, and in following years think the number of degree apprentices they take may grow substantially.