Apprentices to add value sooner with e-skills NTO

An apprenticeship scheme has been launched by the e-skills National Training
Organisation to give university students and new graduates the IT skills needed
by employers.

The programme is aimed at speeding up the time it takes for graduate
employees to contribute to business.

Backed by the Government, the E-skills Graduate Apprenticeship leads to
nationally recognised certificates of occupational competence in areas such as
software development, IT user support and IT solutions.

Christine Sanderson, project director for the e-skills NTO, said the
initiative was jointly developed by higher education institutes and employers.

She said, "The E-skills Graduate Apprenticeship promotes high standards
and is flexible so that it can be tailored to suit the individual employer and
employee.

"It can be started during or following a degree course, or as soon as
the student starts a job in the technology sector."

The programme has been piloted by large employers, including Unisys,
Hewlett-Packard and Compaq Computer Systems, using their in-house graduate
development programmes.

Alex Bedford, head of training at Unisys Corporate University, said,
"It is a low-cost, high-value approach where a person gains the
qualification from doing the job well.

"It develops a balance of practical business skills that graduates need
for their short-term and long-term success."

Smaller companies such as Merit International have also worked with their
local university or higher education institutes to deliver the programme.

By Lisa Bratby

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