Virgin Media says it has promoted 107 individuals from its apprentice programme into its organisation. The former apprentices will be employed as installation, service or network engineers, managers and planners.

The cablenet says a further 1,000 apprenticeship roles will be created over the next five years.

It comes as the Liberty Global-owned operator ploughs £3 billion into an extension of its network that will connect an additional four million premises to superfast broadband.

Chris Starling, Head of Apprenticeships at Virgin Media, comments: “Our apprenticeship programme has gone from strength to strength, with more applicants per place every year. Our vocational courses provide apprentices with valuable insights into business and the skills they need to fast track their careers.”

Steve Dabbs, 25, a Virgin Media engineer based in Birmingham is an example of the success apprentices can achieve. Steve, who has represented Virgin Media’s apprenticeships scheme at the Houses of Parliament, was promoted to become a network planner and named Intermediate Apprentice of the Year 2014 by the Institute of Telecommunications Professionals.

Talking about his experience, Steve said: “My apprenticeship kick-started my career and gave me skills I’d never have learned at university. The course has taken me all the way to the Houses of Parliament and beyond. In such a competitive jobs market I recommend apprenticeships to anyone who will listen.”

The paid courses, which vary between one and two years in length, focus on delivering award-winning customer service in addition to providing apprentices with a wide range of digital and business skills.

Virgin Media will begin recruitment for its 2015 apprenticeship intake during National Apprentice Week in March.