BT and Tube Lines named employers of the year at apprenticeship awards

BT and Tube Lines have been named employers of the year at the 2009 Apprenticeship Awards.

The awards, presented by the National Apprenticeship Service, named BT the macro employer of the year for the second consecutive year, while the London Underground maintenance company Tube Lines was crowned best large employer.

Dave Walsh, head of apprenticeships at BT, told Personnel Today he was delighted the company’s work to train and develop apprentices was still being recognised.

The firm has 800 apprentices this year working across 13 different frameworks, and will train a further 7,000 existing members of staff through apprenticeships next year.

Walsh said: “We really believe in apprenticeships and take our programme above and beyond the basic requirements. We won the award because we demonstrated that we had been continually developing and evolving our schemes.”

BT also worked closely with female apprentices and re-designed its website to offer more content for women, including information about female role models.

Tube Lines was awarded for using its apprenticeship scheme – which has brought 50 people into the company in six years – to train its future managers and to develop ambassadors for the engineering sector.

Liza Okafor, apprentice co-ordinator at Tube Lines, said: “We are not just trying to shape skilled workers but also leaders and managers of the future. Of the 50 apprentices to have completed our scheme over the past six years, only one has left the company, and some are already managers.”

Apprentices at the firm are given the opportunity to meet regularly with executives to talk about their career paths, and a new management development programme will be integrated into the scheme from next year.

Personnel Today recently revealed over one-third of apprentices dropped out last year, while there has been a 277% increase in the number of over-25s taking up apprenticeships.

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