Openreach to hire thousands of engineers to deliver ultrafast broadband

Largest recruitment drive in the company's history and opening of regional training centres will support plans to expand fibre across the country.

Last updated: 15 March 2018 - 12.07pm

Openreach, Britain’s leading digital network business, will hire 3,500 new trainee engineers over the next 12 months. The largest recruitment drive in the company’s history will see recruitment in communities from Penzance, in Cornwall to the Orkney Islands and follows an announcement last month that Openreach will accelerate plans to build more Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) broadband infrastructure across the country.

The new roles will be located throughout Britain, with trainees joining the UK’s largest team of telecoms engineers working to expand, upgrade, maintain and install new services over Openreach’s national broadband network. Taken together, with an expected expansion in its supply chain, this will support the creation of around 5,000 new jobs in Britain over the coming year.

[Read more: How does the internet get into your home?]

Openreach’s ‘Fibre First’ programme will deliver expanded FTTP networks in up to 40 towns, cities and boroughs, setting it on a trajectory to reach ten million British premises by the mid-2020s. It has committed to making FTTP available in three million British homes and business by the end of 2020 and, if the conditions are right, intends to go significantly further, bringing the benefits of FTTP technology to the majority of homes and businesses in the UK. The build will commence in eight cities: Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond said: “It’s great news that Openreach is creating 3,500 new permanent jobs rolling out full fibre broadband. This digital infrastructure will be welcomed by families and business across the country, and these new highly skilled jobs will be a boost to our talented workforce as we build an economy fit for the future.”

Speaking ahead of the official opening of Openreach’s new training centre in Bradford, one of 12 new regional fibre training centres built to support the rollout, Clive Selley, Chief Executive of Openreach, added:  “These trainee engineers will be playing a vital role in the future success and prosperity of the UK. Over the last year our 22,200 engineers have been the driving force behind Government reaching its target of making 'superfast’ broadband available to more than 95% of the country, whilst also improving our customer service performance - but we want to do more.

“Every day, Openreach engineers are working in all weathers across the length and breadth of Britain, connecting homes and businesses and making sure people can access the high quality broadband services they need. We are already investing in upskilling our engineering team and today’s announcement of new jobs underlines our commitment to make our ‘Fibre First’ programme a reality – future-proofing Britain’s broadband network and supporting emerging mobile technologies like 5G.

“I’m confident that our twin investment in people and infrastructure will help the UK achieve the societal and economic benefits that come from better, more reliable, faster broadband services.”

Woman engineer near servers to Openreach hat on

Kevin Brady, HR Director, Openreach, said: “We want men and women from all walks of life to apply for roles at Openreach so we’re keen to engage with the aspiring engineers of tomorrow and to build a diverse workforce that reflects the hugely diverse communities we serve throughout Britain.

“Becoming an engineer can be an incredibly rewarding career, and we’re constantly improving our training and recruitment programmes to make sure we attract and keep the best engineers in the business. This year we’ve invested heavily in upskilling our people, so they can now do more for customers in a single visit and we recently launched new career pathways to give our engineers a clear sense of the skills, accountabilities and experience they need to get where they want to be.

“We’re committed to helping people realise their potential so we’re also delighted to be offering 500 work experience placements, under the Movement to Work programme, to 18-24 year olds who are currently not in education, employment or training.”

Read more: Ultrafast broadband - what is it and why is it important?

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