The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Dr Vince Cable, today visited Fujitsu's facility in Solihull for a roundtable discussion with the company's best and brightest, its apprentices.
Dr Cable and Solihull MP met with nine apprentices from across the business to learn more about what attracted them to become apprentices, the skills they are learning and the opportunities it is providing them for a successful career.
Fujitsu's Chief Operating Officer, Gavin Bounds, who chaired the roundtable said:
"I was really impressed with how our apprentices presented themselves and the company to one of the most senior members of the Government. It was great to be able to showcase our young talent. Our apprentices make such a huge contribution to our company and are laying the foundations of really fulfilling careers.
"The difference the apprentices make to the company speaks for itself, 100% of those who complete the scheme go on to find a permanent job with Fujitsu."
After meeting the Fujitsu apprentices, Dr Cable said:
"I want to see apprenticeships on an equal footing with academic education. This government is committed to creating a 'new norm' where young people either choose university or an apprenticeship when they finish school.
"I was pleased to see that Fujitsu has a well-developed apprenticeship programme with bright, motivated young apprentices taking part.
"This government has delivered a record investment in apprenticeships, which has seen the number in Solihull roughly double in four years.
"I would encourage other businesses recruit some apprentices, as Fujitsu has done so successfully, and benefit from the excellent package of support available from the government."
Since the beginning of 2012 Fujitsu has taken on nearly 200 apprentices throughout the UK, working in diverse roles across the business. Fujitsu offers a range of Intermediate, Advanced and Higher Apprenticeships over one to two years with the highest level providing the individual with a degree equivalent qualification. The scheme has a 96% completion rate with those who complete the scheme guaranteed a job.
Solihull MP, Lorely Burt said:
"It was a great pleasure to meet these enthusiastic young people, who came for from a very diverse range of backgrounds. They demonstrate how apprenticeships can be a win-win for everyone.
"The apprentice gets to earn and learn with the probability of a full-time skilled job at the end. Meanwhile the employer gets an enthusiastic young worker, government support with salary and training costs, and ends up with a loyal, well-trained member of staff."
Fujitsu is signed up to the Trailblazer Apprenticeships Scheme created by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and is helping to shape the future of this vital policy area which is so vital to the UK's economic future.
Gavin Bounds added:
"Fujitsu recognises the importance of supporting apprentices in this critical stage of their career. Not only do we provide them with technical and business skills that will lead to a permanent job, we also ensure they are properly paid. Fujitsu pays its apprentices over 50% more than the legal minimum wage set by the Government for apprentices.
"An apprenticeship is a two way commitment, we expect that the young people involved in our scheme deliver value to our business and in return we develop them, train them and ensure they are appropriately rewarded and recognised for their efforts."
Following the roundtable Dr Cable and Ms Burt went on a tour of the Solihull site where Fujitsu employs over 600 people. Much of Fujitsu's telecoms business is located at the site and the Solihull workforce support crucial clients such as the Home Office, Morrison, Virgin Media and the Home Office.