Capgemini UK plc is more than doubling its intake of IT apprentices in 2012 to a record of just over 200. The company reports a surge of applications, mostly from school leavers seeking an economically attractive alternative to university, and is confident of filling all vacancies on the programme by the end of the year. Capgemini recruited 98 apprentices in 2011 and 26 in 2010. It plans a further increase to 230 in 2013.

Capgemini UK employs some 8,000 people in Britain and is part of the global Capgemini Group, one of the world’s foremost providers of consulting, technology and outsourcing services. Its UK clients range from HM Revenue & Customs and the Metropolitan Police to Rolls-Royce, Tesco and Unilever.

The increased scope of this year’s programme reflects the success of the 2011 intake, and the increasing interest among young people in apprenticeships as an alternative to university. Those joining Capgemini’s Higher Apprentice Programme have a fully funded opportunity to gain a degree, free from tuition fees, with day release for college attendance as an integral part of their apprenticeship.

Frances Duffy, HR Director for Capgemini Application Services, said: ‘Reports from our managers and clients comment in glowing terms on the enthusiasm, commitment and fresh perspectives offered by our apprentices, so I am delighted to announce this further expansion in our apprenticeships programme. Apprentices are now vital in widening the pool of IT talent, addressing skills shortages, and helping to ensure that the UK can continue to compete successfully in world markets.’

She added that Capgemini’s longstanding graduate recruitment programme was also continuing to expand, and that both programmes helped Capgemini build a sustainable business by ensuring the right quantity and quality of talent for the future.

Capgemini is seeking apprentices to work in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Swansea, Telford and a number of other locations across the UK. The programme comprises two schemes: a 12-month Advanced Apprenticeship programme for those aged 16-plus with good GCSEs, and a five-year Higher Apprenticeship programme for people aged 18-plus with good A-levels. Both programmes include formal instruction, day-release study and on-the-job training working alongside experienced employees on client projects.

Frances Duffy added: ‘We want to attract the brightest and best – people who are passionate about IT and excited by the prospect of a career working for one of the world’s largest and most innovative IT companies. Those are the people to whom we want to say – You’re Hired!’

Capgemini pays competitive starting salaries to its apprentices, currently £10,000 pa for the first three months during which they take a fast-track IT fundamentals course. On successful completion of this course the salary package then rises, on current figures, to £14,500 pa for Advanced Apprentices and £16,000 pa for Higher Apprentices.

Earlier this year Capgemini played a leading role in moving towards a sound national structure for IT apprenticeships. Nine major national and multinational IT companies (Accenture, Atos, Capgemini, CSC, Fujitsu, HP, Logica, Siemens and Steria) formed the ‘Charter Group’ by developing and signing a new charter for the employment of apprentices. Supported by e-skills UK (the Sector Skills Council for Business and IT), the British Computer Society and Business in the Community, the nine succeeded in defining six specific apprenticeship roles and agreeing on matters such as entry qualifications, pay scales, training requirements, timescales, standards and routes to professionally qualified status.