John Lewis looks for eight IT apprentices

The retailer's IT degree apprenticeships pay £16,000 to post-A Level students

John Lewis has launched a new four-year IT apprenticeship scheme, looking for eight post-A Level students to fill the tech roles on starting salaries of 16,000.

The scheme, designed to help young people gain experience and skills relevant to the tech industry, was developed by John Lewis with The Tech Partnership, and offers the apprentices the chance to work in the head office IT department at John Lewis while completing a BSc (Hons) degree in Digital & Technology Solutions at Queen Mary University London.

Paul Coby, IT director at John Lewis, said: "It's fantastic to be able to work with The Tech Partnership to offer talented young people the opportunity to kick-start a career in IT through our new degree apprenticeship. This programme is a great alternative to university and successful applicants will received transferable workplace skills in addition to a degree education, and I hope that we will find some future leaders in IT via this scheme."

The apprentices will spend three days of the week working at the retailer's head office in Victoria, where they will have the opportunity to develop a technical specialism, and an additional two days studying.

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Students' 16,000 starting salaries will rise each year as they progress through the programme and they will not accrue debt from tuition fees.

"John Lewis was among the first to recognise the potential of degree apprenticeships in tech, and they have been closely involved in developing the rigorous academic and practical curriculum," said Karen Price, chief executive at The Tech Partnership.

"The programme, which has been accredited as Tech Industry Gold for its quality and business relevance, is an exceptional opportunity for talented candidates who want to build a successful and enjoyable career in technology. I urge anyone with passion for IT to apply."

Applications are now open, with the scheme set to officially launch in September 2016.

Employers increasingly turned to apprenticeships in order to fill the UK's tech skills gap last year. Around half of the 134,000 vacancies appearing each year were for junior tech roles, inspiring firms such as BT, Google and Fujitsu to offer these kind of schemes.

Professor Rebecca Lingwood, vice principal for student experience, teaching and learning at Queen Mary University London, said: "We're excited to build upon our track record of partnering with businesses.

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"Graduates from this course will have the best of both worlds by learning from real-world situations and gaining the most up-to-date, technical knowledge from their courses and lecturers at Queen Mary University of London."

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