Accenture, Siemens, HP and Fujitsu are some of the IT services companies that have signed up to a sector-wide charter for employing apprentices in the UK.
Capgemini, CSC, Logica and Steria have also signed up to the agreement, which is supported by the Business In The Community (BITC) charity. Other IT firms are also encouraged to sign up to the charter.
The charter aims make the IT industry's approach to apprenticeships more consistent. For example, the nine companies have standardised six common IT roles for the scheme, namely software development, testing, IT support, project management, networks and business analysis.
Other commitments the companies have made include reviewing their hiring approach to see where opportunities can be offered to apprentices, and encouraging diversity of applications into the IT service sector. They have also pledged to creating structured career pathways to help the long-term career development and training of apprentices.
"With youth unemployment at over one million, this charter is a welcome step that will help put more IT careers within the reach of young people.
"By collaborating in this way, the IT industry can more effectively address the skills gap and strengthen appeal of IT careers, particularly for women," said Sarah Gibb, director of skills and workplace learning at BITC.
The next round of recruitment of apprentices will take place in September 2011.