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The unexpected benefits of apprenticeships

To celebrate the 10 year anniversary of apprentices within Virgin Media, we caught up with Peter Van Den Broeck, Head of Build – South Coast & Home Counties, who shares with us his experience being a part of the original team that launched apprenticeships within the business and the unexpected benefits he’s seen over the years.

What brief were you given from the operation to deliver against with the introduction of apprenticeships and subsequent new schemes? How did you go about delivering against this?

I was asked to deliver an apprentice programme for Install Technicians by Paul Hutchinson and the CEO at the time. I worked with the Learning & Development team and PDS, an external expert in apprenticeships to understand what was required and how best to advertise the roles and recruit for them. We started to contact various schools and careers offices to let them know about our vacancies – we had over 800 applicants. We held recruitment evening at various locations where potential recruits attended with their parents to find out more. We interviewed literally 100’s people to get the class of 2008! We must have done something right to still have 55% in the business today.

What have been the unexpected benefits of Apprenticeships?

With the level 2 in 2008, the early benefits – they were learning whilst working on our network, cabinets and SID architecture – upgrading brought lots of savings to the business and benefit for the customers

Planning – one innovation that stands out, we used to have planners walking the plan – recording all of it, going back to the office and writing it down. 2 apprentices – 1 out with iPhone taking pictures and sending back the information making the operation quicker

Asking the “what if” questions on more than one occasions and the subsequent implementing of some of the idea borne out of the discussions –to improve the apprentice programme and the operational performance of their department

Proudest moment when heading up the apprentice programme at Virgin Media?

I have to say one of the proudest moments for me was being invited to the 2011 AELP national conference as a key speaker, this gave Virgin Media the opportunity to tell the Association of Employment and Learning Providers. I also gave an interview on our plans and that we thought apprentices were the way forward for the industry.

Posted on by Peter Van Den Broeck