From education to employment

Orange Apprentice Takes Top Honours at the National Employer Service Awards

The winner of this year’s Young Learner Advanced Apprenticeship award was a candidate from mobile phone company, Orange.

John Vickery, a former member of the Orange Apprenticeship scheme, received the top honours in the National Employer Service Awards ceremony in March 2006. Having completed his Orange IT and Telecoms Apprenticeship in September 2002, John now works as an engineer. His course lasted three years, but he managed to finish ahead of any other apprentice in the UK and was invited to help draft the review of the Orange training plan.

Apprentices are Important says Mobile Giant

Orange has stated that it recognises the importance of Apprenticeships for grooming potential talent to maintain its massive infrastructure. It acknowledges that the Apprenticeship scheme helps to give young workers the skills they will need to perform well and progress in such an industry. Dean Hingley, a member of Orange’s Apprenticeship scheme, said: “It helps us because we can “grow our own”. As a result, we get not just the right people with the right technical ability and aptitude – we also get people that match behaviourally with what we want at Orange.”

Overall, Dean agreed that the Apprenticeship scheme is a big success in terms of quality recruitment for the company. “The retention rate is one of the great successes of the Apprenticeship scheme at Orange. We retain the people we recruit throughout the length of the scheme and even after it has finished. It is really encouraging to find that people stay with us.” Not only Orange run the Apprenticeship schemes; other corporations in the sector do as well, such as BT, O2, Fujitsu and EDS.

If the large turnout at the National Employer Service Awards in March wasn”t enough to convince people, then it is encouraging to hear directly from the companies themselves the benefits of the Apprentice scheme. They have clearly stated that the Apprenticeships are a major factor in recruitment in today’s IT and Telecoms sector, and as such, should be considered a serious and equal alternative to a degree.

Paul Keely

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