Tech Entrepreneur in Bid to End 'Cheap Labour' Apprenticeships

Article date: Tue, 05 Nov 2013 10:01 GMT

 End 'Cheap Labour' Apprenticeships

Technology entrepreneur Lawrence Jones has vowed to change the face of apprenticeships with the launch of his company's training scheme.

Jones, CEO of hosting and colocation firm UKFast, is launching an apprenticeship scheme that pays complete salaries - more than double the national average at £6 per hour - and offers full Ofsted-accredited training.

Jones said: "I have been so disappointed to hear fellow businessmen describe apprenticeships as a way to pay low wages for high work outputs. We don't see our apprentices this way. We have a responsibility to pay them the wage that they earn and to empower them to forge the careers that they want to.

"As part of an industry in the grip of a huge skills gap, we are stepping up and taking the responsibility to equip young people with the skills that will fill this gap and help to drive the UK's digital economy forward.

"I've committed millions of pounds to education and training here at UKFast, with the recruitment of two former teachers, the launch of our £4.5m graduate scheme and now our apprenticeship scheme. It is time for other businesses to do the same; to see these schemes as an opportunity to help the apprentices and the business to grow together and invest in them appropriately."

Jones and UKFast have been heavily involved in technology education for more than a decade, playing an integral role in the development of the National IT Diploma and partnering with local schools in the region. The firm's apprenticeship scheme is run entirely in-house by two former teachers.

Already, four apprentices have joined the UKFast team and have begun their two-year, Level 3 qualification for IT and telecoms professionals, a qualification equivalent to two A-Levels. The apprentices are studying for industry qualifications such as Microsoft Technical Associate (MTA) and Linux Professional Certifications (LPIC) credentials.

Jones added: "We've made a promise to nurture young people in their progression to becoming the industry experts who are the future of not only our company, but the country's digital future."

Earlier this year, UKFast moved into a new £3.2m, 50,000sq ft HQ on the outskirts of Manchester city centre where a dedicated training space, library and auditorium are being developed to complement the firm's commitment to training and education.

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