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Apprentices off to a flying start at BT’s Newcastle contact centre

Press release   •   Mar 14, 2016 16:16 GMT

Ten apprentices are carving out careers at BT’s Newcastle Contact Centre in Gosforth, after being selected from around 150 applicants to secure the jobs in September last year.

The apprentices, all from the North East, completed six week’s training and are now working as part of the 1000-strong workforce currently based at the centre.

With roles in customer care teams, the apprentices are learning valuable skills and expertise while working towards aBTEC and NVQ Level 3 in Customer Service over an 18 month period. Day-to-day they will be helping customers with billing enquiries and offering technical support on a vast range of both telephony and broadband products. They will also have opportunities to access additional training, on site coaching and mentoring.

One of the new apprentices, Leone Barker, 19, from Annfield Plain near Stanley, County Durham, said: “I was over the moon to get on the BT apprenticeship scheme. To be able to earn a decent salary and get qualifications at the same time is obviously really important.

“I’m going to expect the unexpected, work my socks off and hopefully this will be the start of a great career with BT.”

The Newcastle contact centre is one of the largest BT centres of its kind in the UK. It deals with calls from tens of thousands of customers every month, handling enquiries and taking orders for a variety of BT phone and broadband products as well as being one of the main hubs for BT Sport. Technical and repair teams are also based at the centre and, with the wealth of experience built up in the 18 years since it was opened, staff at the centre are frequently chosen to handle the launch of new BT products and systems.

Anthony Brown, repair general manager at the contact centre, said: “Apprentices are a fantastic addition to any team so I’m very lucky to have ten already working in my department.

“We are looking forward to welcoming more apprentices this year as nationally BT is recruiting for a further 1,400 new apprentices and graduatessome of which will be based here in Gosforth.

“Many apprentices who have completed their apprenticeships here at the call centre are now enjoying successful careers, working in a wide variety of jobs across the company. Apprenticeships are a fantastic starting point from which to build a career.”

Farooq Hakim, BT’s regional director for the North East, added: “Having met many of our apprentices working here in the North East, I have to say I never fail to be impressed with their outlook and attitude.

“From engineers to customer service advisors, they all seem to share a sense of enthusiasm and dedication to making a success out of their apprenticeships. I look forward to seeing the achievements of these ten young people in the years to come.”

BT has promised to answer more than 80 per cent of consumer customers’ calls in the UK by the end of 2016. In order to do this, more than 1,000 new UK-based contact centre jobs have already been created and will be recruiting for hundreds of other UK positions. A further 1,000 will be recruited before April 2017.