BT opens training contracts to external candidates

In a bold move BT has overhauled its trainee lawyer recruitment programme, opening it up to external candidates for the first time.

In a bold move BT has overhauled its trainee solicitor recruitment programme, opening it up to external candidates for the first time.

The FTSE100 telecoms giant has introduced the new scheme in a bid to drive new talent into the business. It will have an initial intake of five trainee solicitors and replace the companys current solicitor programme, which was only available to existing company employees.

The move will see BT recruit law graduates fresh out of university to take part in a three-year course alongside working in its in-house legal department.

Trainees will have to complete a mandatory seat in litigation but can then choose to do seats in three other practice areas covering either commercial, antitrust, major deals, employment or corporate.

Gordon Moir, head of legal at BT Retail, said: We took the view that we need to bring in new talent to the business. And one of the ways were going to do this is go out to the graduate market.

The company already has six trainees on its current programme and existing BT employees will still be able to apply for the new scheme, which will start in September 2009.

Miles Jobling, director of transformation and head of legal for litigation and employment, said the move is unusual especially among in-house legal teams who typically recruit within the company.

He said: Many graduates want to go straight into the world of work as soon as they finish university. This will provide them with training as well as an income.

Only a handful of training contract positions are offered by the UKs biggest companies. Lawyer 2B’s latest annual in-house training contract survey, published in February 2008, revealed that just 18 per cent of FTSE 100 companies hire trainees with the banking sector leading the way.