23 Apr 2012

IT and telecoms Higher Level Apprenticeships officially launched

An Open University and Capgemini UK Higher Apprentices (HAs) project launched last week (17th April) has already been so successful that it is expanding. The London event introduced the first intake of 32 Higher Apprentices (HAs) to the five-year training scheme that they will begin next month, on which they will earn The OU’s IT Practice Honours Degree while working at international IT services company Capgemini UK.

Since the first intake of HAs was recruited in October 2011, interest has peaked within other operations at Capgemini and the next intake of HAs in October 2012 could more than treble in size. Capgemini UK is the largest in a network of corporate partnerships formed under The OU’s HA scheme, and is the largest apprenticeship of its kind in the country.

Capgemini UK senior managers were on hand at the lunchtime event, which included presentations by speakers, networking opportunities and a buddying-up scheme for the new HAs, as well as an overview of the overall qualification structure and an introduction to their first course. The scheme incorporates The Open University’s BSc (Hons) in Computing and IT Practice and a Diploma in Professional Studies (ICT), delivered by QA Training, the UK’s leading supplier of IT training.

Capgemini UK was looking to fill a skills gap in software development, so the company wanted to commit to a learning scheme investing in training young graduates at the start of their careers, with the aim of developing long-lasting relationships. Nick Whitlock, Corporate Development Manager at The OU, said: “There’s a great link between the job that these people are doing and the degree. They are fee-generating very quickly, while still learning. Capgemini required a flexible distance learning partner, so we were the perfect choice. We are delighted to be working with them.”

Lance Doughty, Vice President, sponsor of Graduate and Apprentice programmes, and Head of Systems Development and Integration for Capgemini in the UK, added: “Our people need to be mobile because they often commute to where our customers are based, which could be anywhere in the UK. We needed a partner that could offer a substantial track record of success in provision of distance learning.”

Capgemini’s launch event attendees included Chief Technology Officer Andy Mulholland, UK HR Director Francis Duffy and Chairman Christine Hodgson, along with other UK board members. Helen Pickering of the National Apprenticeship Scheme and Ben Sweetman of QA was also in attendance.

In addition to these large corporate programmes, the Open University Higher Apprenticeship Solution also offers a study pathway focused on small and medium enterprise (SME) students.

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