"It's probably the sexiest career to work in," claims One 2 One. "It's definitely the most dynamic," says Cable and Wireless. Telecommunications, it seems, is not only one of the fastest growing industries recruiting vast numbers of graduates but it is also at the cutting edge.
Largely responsible for this is the introduction of WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) which is changing the face of mobile communication. The increasing use of mobile phones to send text messages sparked the initiative to allow Internet access on a handset. Those with websites are creating WAP sites, allowing the customer to compare the book prices at Amazon, for example, while in a book shop, or find out when the next bus should arrive while standing at the bus stop - all from a handset.
Such is the demand for this kind of service that Nokia believes that "by 2003, the number of mobiles capable of Internet access will exceed that of PCs connected to the Internet."
Pekka Isosomppi, communications officer at Nokia, adds that the opportunities WAP has bought to graduates chiefly include "terminal development and infrastructure development, both of which are a very important part of Nokia as well as a corporate service."
But before the technical jargon starts to make your eyes glaze over, know this. There are many career opportunities within telecommunications that are by no means technically orientated. Indeed, some of the best known companies are now offering fantastic opportunities for graduates, irrespective of your degree subject.
The largest graduate recruiter in telecommunications is, not surprisingly, BT. Receiving thousands of applications for telecommunications roles, it takes on between 400 and 600 graduates annually. The graduate recruitment scheme, like that of Cable and Wireless, does not revolve around a single programme. Instead, graduates select an area they wish to work in from 11 disciplines including human resources (HR), marketing, finance and network communication engineering. Cable & Wireless offers four streams into which it recruits.
Once settled into the particular discipline that suits them best, graduates are rotated within the department, gaining even more comprehensive experience. Andrew Armes, HR consultant for graduate recruitment at Cable & Wireless explains, "As a graduate, you wouldn't necessarily know which area of HR you want to work in. So the rotational scheme gives you the opportunity to experience HR across business, policy and recruiting over the two years."
While One 2 One does not offer a particular graduate recruitment scheme, for the first time it is looking for graduates among the 3,500 individuals it expects to employ this year. Neil Bent, spokesperson for One 2 One, explains that graduates "will not feel pigeon-holed into a role. You can move from technological role to a marketing role. For us, it is very important that you find a role that you are comfortable with."
This opportunity to move around within a single company stems from the notoriously high turnover of staff in telecommunications. It is also largely responsible for the fact that the professional qualifications offered to graduates are now a cut above most industries. After all, companies not only need to lure graduates. They also need to train them and keep them.
From day one, a graduate on the Cable & Wireless scheme is signed up to taking the professional qualification relevant to their discipline. Those in HR do the Institute of Personnel and Development exams, those in marketing do the Chartered Institute of Marketing exams, those in finance do the CIMA exams and those in engineering become chartered engineers.
Although these qualifications take a two years to obtain, the benefits are huge. You can expect a rise in earning and in kudos, as well as becoming a valuable asset to your company. Little …