IBM offers apprenticeships to school leavers

Training scheme launched to tackle the skills gap.

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IBM has introduced an apprenticeship scheme for school leavers.

The company will employ and train batches of 20 apprentices for two-years at its sites in England and Scotland.

This announcement comes in the wake of an abysmal response to A-level ICT courses in the recent round of examinations. The technology skills gap that this disinterest has helped to create is a cause for concern in the industry. IBM hopes that its courses, developed in conjunction with e-Skills UK will help towards a fight-back.

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A four-stage selection process has been posted on IBM's website. Each applicant will have to complete an online application form and business or technology A-levels are not essential. A select group will then move on to do an online test developed by IBM to test logical reasoning and the ability to process information quickly.

Success at this stage leads to a visit to an assessment centre where individual and group tests, such as role-playing and logic challenges, will be held. The final group will then undergo formal interviews.

Apprentices will be enrolled as IT Specialists and will learn to develop proofs of concept and how to design, develop, build, test and implement systems to solve IBM clients' business and IT problems. They will work alongside trained engineers and sales teams, providing technical project knowledge and guidance.

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At the end of the two years, graduating apprentices will achieve the Advanced Apprenticeship for IT Professionals qualification. This will comprise an OCR Level 3 Diploma in ICT Professional Competence and an OCR Level 3 Certificate in ICT Systems & Principles.

The move follows Microsoft's apprenticeship scheme announced in April and planned to run for three years. The company said that 100 school leavers would start a seven-month apprenticeship course. It hoped that this would eventually attract 3,000 people into ICT work.

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