The government has launched a range of technology-related apprenticeships which will be available from January 2015.

Employers network the 'Tech Partnership' developed the four apprenticeship standards with input from companies such as Atos, BAE Systems, CGI, IBM, BT, Airbus, Lloyds, Cisco, Virgin Media and BP.

The apprenticeships will cover the areas of cyber security, software testing, digital media and digital marketing and will be aimed at talented school leavers.

Learners will split their time between the workplace, where they can learn skills 'hands on', and the classroom, where they can develop the underpinning knowledge they need to develop their careers.

Tech Partnership is also developing apprenticeships in unified communications, business/data analytics and IT with draft standards due to open for online consultation next month.

Skills gap

The apprenticeships are aimed at helping to plug the skills gap in the UK technology sector, highlighted by recent research from e-skills, which found that 129,000 new recruits a year are needed to fill IT and telecoms jobs in the UK.

The research also found that IT employment through to 2020 is forecast to grow at almost twice the UK average.

Research from QA Apprenticeships released last week shows that demand for apprenticeships from students and employers is on the increase.

The figures show a 108 percent increase in demand for IT apprenticeships and a 40 percent rise in the number of employers looking to hire IT apprentices.

The announcement coincided with the launch of the government's 'Get In. Go Far' campaign to encourage young people to take up apprenticeships, launched by business secretary Vince Cable yesterday.

The campaign will feature real apprentices across various sectors giving their thoughts on their experiences. The apprentices will be shown in posters, TV, online and print adverts taking selfies in their workplaces.

According to skills minister Nick Boles there have been 1.8 million apprenticeship 'starts' since 2010.

Concerns over take-up

However Chris Jones, chief executive of vocational education body City & Guilds, expressed concerns as to whether companies will have the time or the money to take on apprentices.

He said: "We must make sure that these reforms lead to greater take up of apprenticeships by both employers and young people."

Jones added: "A-levels and degrees are usually hailed as the best and only route to a successful career. But we are increasingly seeing evidence that the academic path is not always the best investment. The more information that young people have about their options, the better."

Ian Glover, president of industry body the Council of Registered Ethical Security Testers (CREST), said: "Apprenticeships are rapidly gaining traction as a critical part of the industry's long-term strategy to recruit and nurture talent in this specialised field.

"This new Cyber Intrusion Analyst apprenticeship will offer a valuable pathway for young people to enter our dynamic sector which offers such outstanding career prospects and growth potential."