Wanted: Virgin Media to supercharge the careers of 120 digital heroes with paid apprenticeships

3rd March 2014

  • 120 new apprenticeships created at start of National Apprenticeship Week
  • 366 employed through Virgin Media training schemes in last two years

Virgin Media is creating 120 new apprenticeship opportunities for young people to help meet the growing demand for the Company’s superfast broadband and digital entertainment services.

The Company’s training programmes have seen more than 350 apprentice engineers graduate into full-time jobs in the past two years and more than 750 benefit since they began in 2008.

Virgin Media offers three levels of apprenticeships: Intermediate; Advanced; and Higher; giving recruits a wide range of digital and business skills with a focus on delivering a fantastic customer experience. Successful graduates achieve the nationally recognised qualifications NVQ in Communication Technology.

With a fifth of people aged 16-24 currently unemployed across Britain*, Virgin Media received 7,500 applications for its highly respected courses last year.

Paul Buttery, Virgin Media’s chief customer, technology and networks officer, started his career as a telecoms apprentice. He said: “An apprenticeship launched my career and all apprentices should set their sights on getting to the top of their industry.

”We are really proud of our schemes, which have been a great success over the last six years and are expanding into different parts of our business, including management.

“Superfast broadband creates lots of opportunities for young people and we are pleased to be offering them the chance to gain the skills and qualifications to kick start their careers in a thriving industry.

“We are committed to developing the next generation of digital talent and will also be supporting the Government's Traineeship scheme again this year.”

The Government’s National Apprenticeship Service has recognised Virgin Media as a top employer and it was also one of the first companies to support the Government’s traineeship initiative. Virgin Media will also be offering applicants who may not secure an apprenticeship with a traineeship of eight weeks to six months before moving onto full apprenticeship courses – with the first trainees graduating last year.

Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock MP said: “It’s becoming the new norm for young people to choose to either go to university or begin an apprenticeship. So it’s great that Virgin Media has chosen National Apprenticeship Week to announce that 120 new Apprenticeship and Traineeship vacancies will be created within their organisation.

“I would encourage other employers to follow Virgin Media's lead and use apprenticeships as an opportunity to grow their own talent and improve the skills base of their workforce.

“The average completed apprenticeship increases business productivity by £214 per week, and with a talent pool of over a million potential employees it is the ideal time for companies to take advantage of the opportunities for business growth provided by employing apprentices."

Chris Starling, head of apprenticeships for Virgin Media, said: "Our apprenticeship programme has gone from strength to strength with huge demand for opportunities in recent years. Virgin Media’s courses offer a superb insight into our business and are an excellent gateway to stimulating and prosperous careers.

This year, a team of nine Virgin Media apprentices will be competing in the Brathay Apprentice Challenge proving their team building, leadership, logistical and communications abilities whilst supporting local communities and promoting apprenticeships.

To apply, or for further details, go to: careers.virginmedia.com/apprenticeship.

Notes to editors

***Office of National Statistics - 19 February 2014**

Case studies

Laura Denton, 24, access field apprentice, Birmingham

“No two days are the same as you meet such a variety of people and get challenged each day but predominantly I install and improve peoples’ broadband, TV and phone services and look after their digital lives.

“Previously I worked as a youth worker and also in pubs and restaurants which definitely helped me to prepare for working in a male-dominated industry. Virgin Media has been very supportive and we have a group forum set up specifically for women in the business to discuss topics and network together.  Gender aside, we are a team with a very strong bond, although I do like putting an end to the boys banter by showing I can do a better job than them!”

Jake Huckle, 18, former trainee and now access field apprentice, Nottingham

Jake studied an engineering diploma, gained work experience at a local sports centre and wanted to find an apprenticeship instead of full-time college. He had heard about the Virgin Media apprenticeship through friends and applied for a position.

At the assessment day Jake found working with the tools and the practical boards a little awkward so he was offered the chance to gain work experience on a traineeship to see how he would adapt to the field skills required and also to see if it was a career he would like to pursue.

Jake said: "It was an amazing experience where I could get hands-on use with the tools and also meet lots of very different people. It showed that I was committed to gaining the work experience and sometimes you have to give something to get something back.”