400 new trainee engineers for Scotland in Openreach’s biggest ever recruitment drive
• Edinburgh, Aberdeenshire, Highlands & Islands, Argyll & Bute, Dumfries & Galloway and Perth & Kinross among the locations to benefit • 3,500 new engineers across the UK will help deliver ultrafast Fibre to the Premises broadband to three million premises, support evolving mobile networks and improve customer service • News welcomed by the Scottish and UK Governments
Around 400 trainee engineers will be hired across Scotland as part of the largest recruitment drive ever undertaken by Openreach.
The announcement follows news that Openreach, Scotland’s leading digital network business, will accelerate plans to build more ultrafast Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) broadband across the UK.
The 400 new roles in Scotland, part of 3,500 available across the UK during the next 12 months, will be located across the country, including more than 50 posts in Highlands & Islands; around 40 each in Edinburgh, Aberdeenshire and Argyll & Bute; more than 30 in Dumfries & Galloway; and 25 in Perth & Kinross.
Trainees will join the UK’s largest team of telecoms engineers working to expand, upgrade, maintain and install new services over Openreach’s national broadband network.
Openreach’s ‘Fibre First’ programme will deliver expanded ‘full fibre’ 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.
Edinburgh is one of the first eight cities in the UK where the roll-out will commence, and around 30 of the new recruits in the Capital will work on the Fibre First programme. 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.”
Clive Selley, chief executive of Openreach, said: “These trainee engineers will be playing a vital role in the future success and prosperity of Scotland. Over the last year our 3,000 Scottish engineers have been the driving force behind making 'superfast’ broadband available to more than 93% 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 Scotland, 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, including 400 in Scotland, underlines our commitment to make our ‘Fibre First’ programme a reality – future-proofing Britain’s broadband network and supporting emerging mobile technologies like 5G.”
The Scottish Government’s Connectivity Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “This is very welcome news for broadband users across Scotland, not to mention the 400 trainee engineers who will help to implement Openreach’s ambitious plans. Last year when I met Openreach I was reassured by their plans to hire more engineers and today’s announcement shows that they acted upon it.
“It’s particularly encouraging to see that these engineers will be based across the country, with that influx of new jobs and skilled employees set to benefit some of Scotland’s more rural areas.”
Fraser Rowberry, general manager of Openreach in Scotland, added: “This latest recruitment represents a further major investment in Scotland, with permanent posts across the country from the Northern Isles to the Borders. We’re looking forward to men and women from all walks of life applying for these roles at Openreach as 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.”
Fraser, who started out as an apprentice, added: “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 work experience placements, under the Movement to Work programme, to 18-24 year olds who are currently not in education, employment or training. Scottish courses are held in places like Glasgow, Dundee, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.”
Case study:Wasim Akram, 30, joined Openreach as an apprentice engineer in 2017. Originally from Pakistan, he moved to Glasgow’s Southside around seven years ago. Wasim left behind work in a burger bar to join Openreach as a trainee engineer, where he started a twelve-month training and support programme to become a fully qualified technician. He said: “I already had a degree and MSc in telecommunications engineering from my time in Pakistan and from Middlesex University. I wanted to use the knowledge I’d gained at university while learning hands-on skills. I really enjoy being out and about, helping to keep customers connected. With the huge range of opportunities Openreach has to officer I’m excited about the career I have ahead of me.”
Notes to editors
Recruitment to support Openreach’s ‘Fibre First’ programme
- The 3,500 roles include (across Openreach’s ten service delivery regions) 400 roles in Scotland; 297 in the North East and Yorkshire; 283 in the North West; 303 in North Wales and the North Midlands; 444 in East Anglia; 354 in South Wales and the South Midlands; 300 in the South East, 505 in London; 400 in South Central and 214 in the South West.
- Ultrafast broadband is defined as speeds of 100 Megabits per second (Mbps) whilst Superfast broadband is defined as speeds of more than 24Mbps.
- FTTP connections can deliver ‘ultrafast’ broadband speeds of up to 1Gigabit per second (Gbps) – enough to stream 200 HD videos simultaneously.
- Successful applicants in England and Wales who complete 12 months at Openreach will receive a BTEC Level 2 Diploma in Professional Competence for IT & Telecoms Professionals. Scottish joiners will receive a Diploma for IT & Telecommunications Professionals at SCQF Level.
- Openreach is creating 12 new fibre training facilities across Britain in Bradford, Bolton, Cardiff, Croydon, Hertford, Livingston, Nursling, Peterborough, Thornaby, Yarnfield, Exeter and the Thames Valley.
- The new training schools are designed to simulate the typical British street, giving new recruits and existing engineers the opportunity to develop and enhance their skills in an authentic; immersive and controlled environment.
- Openreach currently employs 22,200 field engineers and last year hired more than 1,800 new engineers.
- Openreach’s UK-wide network is almost 160 million kilometres long - enough to go around the world 4,000 times - and serves more than 30 million British homes and businesses.