Business Secretary Vince Cable yesterday hailed plans by mobile phone giant Vodafone UK to hire 400 graduates over the next five years as a blueprint for British businesses.
Mr Cable was yesterday at the company’s Newbury headquarters to unveil plans by Vodafone to boost its graduate intake in response to soaring demand.
Vodafone will take on about 80 graduates a year, up from its normal annual intake of 50 graduates, offering them two-year roles.
Mr Cable said: “Graduate schemes like Vodafone’s help young people get started in their careers. They show the value of investing in young people who want to train and gain experience in a successful British business.”
The Government has called on businesses to create more apprenticeships and graduate roles to tackle stubbornly high youth unemployment, amid fears of a “lost generation”.
Figures released yesterday by the Office for National Statistics showed about 1.1 million people aged 16 to 24 were not in education, employment or training during January to March – a rate of more than 15 per cent.
The new recruits, who start at Vodafone in August, will tackle roles in technology, retail, finance, brand, customer services, legal, communications, human resources and enterprise and will be based in Newbury.
Vodafone said it has been inundated with applications for its graduate schemes in recent years. It added 88 per cent of its graduates stay on with the company once their training has finished.
Vodafone UK chief executive Guy Laurence said: “Our graduates bring fresh thinking and energy into our business. I always spend time with them as their ideas are interesting.”