Visa Europe has launched a new IT apprenticeship programme for placements located in Basingstoke, Reading and Paddington.

It follows the Budget, in which Chancellor George Osborne promised £180 million in funding for apprenticeships in a bid to create a more educated and flexible UK workforce. IT industry representatives also recently argued at a Westminster eForum that more internships and apprenticeships are needed to attract and keep IT workers in the sector.

Each placement on the Higher Apprenticeship Programme, which has space for 12 apprentices, will last for three years. Visa has not yet confirmed if recruitment for the scheme will be carried out annually.

The scheme will provide on-the-job training, and apprentices will also work towards achieving a Foundation Degree and a Level 4 Diploma in ICT professional competence and key skills.

The scheme is open to applicants with two A-levels or equivalent, one of which should include maths, computing, ICT, physics or combined science. Applicants will also need at least five GCSEs at Grade C or above, covering English, maths and IT or a science.

The deadline for applications is 6 May, with apprenticeships starting in August.