Thousands of youngsters scramble for BT apprenticeships

Telecoms group BT has received more than 100 applications for each of its apprenticeship places this year, the company said today.

BT has had nearly 24,000 applications for the 221 places available on the apprenticeship scheme, a spokeswoman confirmed.

More young people applied for the positions than the total applications to Oxford University, which attracted 17,000 applications for its 3,000 undergraduate places.

Successful applicants go on to specialise in information technology, telecoms or customer service, and will gain qualifications including BTEC or foundation degrees.

The high interest in the programme - which has a starting annual salary of �11,000 to �14,000 - reflects the growing rate of unemployment in the country’s six million 18 to 24-year-olds, which is currently 17.5 per cent, and a spike in the birth rate in the early nineties.

The scramble to find gainful employment or a place in higher education will come to a head this Thursday when A-level results are released.