The government has taken part in the launch of the e-skills UK Higher Apprenticeship Programme, as part of this week's Apprenticeship Week 2012.
The Higher Apprenticeship Programme, supported by the National Apprenticeship Service, brings together more than 20 employers including BT, Capgemini, IBM, the Ministry of Justice, UBS and Visa Europe. The programme, it is claimed by e-skills, will offer young people new routes into the IT industry, creating employer defined programmes of study "which lead to highly skilled IT occupations".
Speaking at the launch this week, David Willetts, minister for universities and science, said: "The Higher Apprenticeship Programme is great news for the IT industry. It offers new pathways to careers in technology for those wanting to pursue rigorous, higher level training."
He added: "E-skills UK and the employers it is working with are raising the status of apprenticeships and increasing the pool of talent available in a growing industry which is critical to the economic recovery of the UK."
By combining university or college education with practical, employer-defined training, the programme aims to develop the technical and business skills needed by employers.
Stephen Leonard, CEO of IBM UK and Ireland, said: "The Higher Apprenticeship Programme will be an invaluable source of talent for the UK IT industry. It is designed to support the learning and development of professional, high-calibre people who have the technical and creative skills we need to unlock the potential of technology and to drive a new era of growth."
Karen Price, CEO of e-skills UK, said: "We want to create an environment in which future industry leaders can grow and flourish."
QA Apprenticeships said in January that it currently has 160 vacancies on its IT apprenticeship programmes, available nationally. It is also encouraging more female teenagers to apply.