BT, Employability | Business in the Community Northern Ireland


BT is one of the world’s leading communications companies. It is based in the UK but serves customers across180 countries. It sells fixed-voice, broadband, mobile and TV products and services to individuals and households in the UK.


For businesses, it offers a variety of communications services, ranging from phone and broadband through to complex managed networks, IT services and cyber security protection. The organisation is made up of three strong brands: BT, EE and Plusnet. It has 106,400 employees in 63 countries (82,800 in the UK).

What BT did

Young people in the UK are nearly three times more likely to be unemployed than the rest of the population. To address this, in 2014 BT became a founding partner of Movement to Work; a collaboration of UK employers committed to tackling youth unemployment through providing work experience opportunities.

BT hosts a three-week course – Work Ready – combining hands-on work experience, tech know-how and coaching and training. It is open to 15 young people aged 16-24 not currently in education, employment or training (NEET).

The course focuses on building and developing key skills such as writing a stand out CV and application, interview techniques, self-confidence and digital skills, on the job work experience which includes working alongside engineers from NI Networks, contact centre teams, finance, catering, facilities and IT. It also involves mock interviews and developing an individual plan of the next steps to find employment or return to education, with six months post-programme support.

The programme started in Northern Ireland in Derry; a location with a high level of youth unemployment, but also having a substantial BT presence. It was subsequently rolled out in Enniskillen and Belfast. BT actively builds and maintains relationships with a variety of grass roots charities and organisations working with young people to encourage referrals onto work placements.

BT staff volunteers commit to delivering elements of the programme, and it is listed on its learning and development platform as it provides employees with an upskilling opportunity; a real business benefit.

Impacts and Outcomes

  • Supporting BT’s goal of having two thirds of its employees to volunteer their time and skills by 2020
  • 46 BT volunteers have completed 1,078 volunteering hours supporting the programme
  • Committed to supporting 950, 16-24 year old, NEETs on programme across the UK in 2018
  • Supported 21 young people into work and a further seven in to education in the North West
  • 36 NEET young people have completed the programme and are now making a positive contribution to society; 58% are now in employment, and 19% either returned to further education or in the process of interviews for full-time employment
  • Saving the public purse around £84,000 per year

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