Modern apprentices who join technology giant Electronic Data Services (EDS)
will be able to go on to gain university degrees.
The Degrees for Modern Apprentices initiative is unique within the industry
and will enable modern apprentices to gain a BSc Honours degree in information
systems over a period of two-and-a-half to three years, once they have
completed their National Vocational Qualifications.
The learning is being provided in partnership with Thames Valley University
and will be tutor-directed using workbooks, electronic support and online
work-groups, all supplemented by existing EDS University materials. Students
will also take part in monthly face-to-face meetings with tutors and other EDS
The degree is modular and the firm, which employs 20,000 people in the UK,
is launching a pilot involving 20 students later this month.
Since Autumn 1997, the EDS modern apprentice programme has recruited young
people, typically aged 16-21 years, into EDS UK. Candidates need five GCSEs or
equivalent and are interviewed and required to pass an aptitude test before
they embark on the programme.
Bill Thomas, EDS president, UK, Ireland, Middle East and Africa, said:
"We are thrilled to be able to offer our modern apprentices this valuable
opportunity. Not only will this enable access to higher education at no
financial cost for the students, but it will also help drive down skills
shortages within the IT industry and position EDS as the ’employer of choice’
with the best people in the industry."