E-skills apprenticeships for graduates launched

A
graduate 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 new graduate employees
to become effective contributors 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 or IT solutions.

Christine
Sanderson, project director for the e-skills NTO, said the graduate
apprenticeship initiative had been 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.

"The
programme can be started either 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 own 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- and long-term success."

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

Bhavni Hindocha, HR manager at Merit International, which
worked with the University of Luton to deliver the programme, said the scheme
produced IT professionals who have proven competence in technology as well as
real business knowledge.

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