BT Group, one of the world’s leading communications services companies, has been working with Firebrand Training, global provider of accelerated digital training since 2018, and has had 64 of its apprentices certified in critical digital skills, with all undergoing virtual apprenticeships during lockdown. 

BT Group has been recruiting and equipping learners with the skills they need to succeed in the workplace for over sixty years. As one of the largest private sector apprenticeship providers in the UK, BT Group has welcomed over 9,000 learners into the company since the Apprenticeship Levy was introduced in 2017. All learners are guaranteed a job once they complete their training, and 80% of apprentices that started at BT five years ago have remained in the business. BT apprentices spend 80% of their time doing on-the-job training while 20% is off-site through a choice of residential learning, virtual and face-to-face training. 

When the lockdown measures in the UK were enforced in late March, BT requested training providers pivot to virtual offerings. Firebrand Training was able to do so in a matter of weeks, despite previously focusing solely on in-person learning. Firebrand Training has trained learners in IT Technical Sales L3, Digital Support Technician L3, Network Engineer L4, Software Developer L4 and Unified Communications Technician L3, enabling learners to get certified through accelerated, residential training and providing a taster of “going to college” alongside their fellow apprentices. 

Rob Chapman, co-founder and CEO of Firebrand Training said, “During this uncertain time, it’s important to put health and wellbeing training as a priority so learners feel supported as much as possible and are able to access any resources they may need to continue their education. We are proud that we were able to move our courses online at such a rapid pace, and make the shift in the learning process seamless for BT Group’s apprentices. We’re looking forward to continuing to support the apprentices who rely on our accelerated training courses to build their digital skills.”

Ann Potterton, Head of Apprenticeships, BT said, “We wanted to adapt to the lockdown restrictions as best we could to support the current learners through virtual training, and ensure they still receive the important facetime with coaches while retaining their sense of community with colleagues. We are grateful to Firebrand for pivoting their training model so promptly during lockdown, supporting the learners and giving them access to any resources they may need during this challenging time.”

Lewis Caborn, an apprentice at BT Group said, “Before COVID-19 I was predominantly based in Nottingham and Birmingham working in KCOM data centres and mobile centres where I’m involved in implementing full fibre broadband. Alongside this, I have been undertaking training with Firebrand in cloud computing, Microsoft Fundamentals and networking. My favourite thing about being a BT apprentice is how professional the company is, not just with customers but all staff, including apprentices.”

As the measures begin to ease, Firebrand will be offering a hybrid remote and in-person offering to organisations like BT to reflect a world that will have more onus on remote working.

Lisa Baker

Author Lisa Baker

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