My time at Bolton training centre came to an end on Friday 29 June – what a great time I had there!
I trained with three different groups of people and I made so many new friends. In a way, I felt lucky to have had a different learning experience and that I’d got extra support as it meant I got to meet more people.
Since coming out of training I feel like I’ve learnt so much. I’d compare it to your driving lessons, where you feel like you’re learning, but you don’t really start learning until you’re fully on your own.
After training I spent four weeks buddying. The first week was self-install buddying which is all about getting customers connected to fibre. This was mainly working at the cabinet but wasn’t always as straightforward as it looked. A lot of the time my buddy let me loose on my own which for me is the best way to learn. I’ve always enjoyed hands on learning.
The next three weeks with my buddy we spent doing all kinds of different jobs to get me used to “the real world”. This was a mix of installs and faults. I put my first drop wire up which I enjoyed, and resolved some interesting faults too. It’s great that you get to meet all different kinds of customers and a lot of them do mention that they haven’t had a female engineer before.
On Monday 30 July I went ‘live’ – this meant I was out on my own! I’ve met lots of people over the last three weeks and all of them have been really happy to help, even if they’ve never met me before. I think it’s so reassuring that we have so many helpful, friendly and kind people working for Openreach.
I met with one of our managers and told him the main thing I’d been struggling with was cleating. He took me outside and spent time showing me how to actually hold a hammer and how to cleat properly and neatly. He had tons of patience and I really appreciated the help.
You can actually feel how much you’ve progressed too. I feel physically stronger and have no issues carrying a ladder. I’m much more confident in the job I’m doing too.
Let me share one final thing with you – and maybe make a bit of a fool out of myself – with this little tale…
I went to one of our store’s hubs after being advised by my buddy of a few things I needed (please keep in mind before working for Openreach, I’d never done any DIY in my life). I was told I needed a “wood drill bit”, so I made my way to stores and picked up my order.
As I looked in the bag I saw a drill bit but it wasn’t made of wood. So I asked if the drill bit I’d been given was my wooden drill bit? I was told ‘yes’, I said ‘I thought it would have been made of wood’. He actually laughed out loud at me!
It’s all a learning curve, I now know it’s for going through wood – not actually made of wood. I’ve learnt to laugh at myself too.
Hannah Hargreaves, Trainee Engineer, Openreach