An Openreach Apprenticeship is open to people from all walks of life

Openreach Northern Ireland has created over 200 new apprenticeship roles in the last two years, of which Ali El Deeb is one.  Ali was awarded Apprentice of the Year in 2021 after successfully graduating from the Openreach apprenticeship programme.  As part of the Department for the Economy’s (DfE) Apprenticeship Week in Northern Ireland, Ali explains what an Openreach apprenticeship has meant to him.

 Ali first discovered the programme after returning from working abroad when a friend, who was in his final months of a 36 month apprenticeship himself, recommended he look into a career at Openreach.

 He said: “I’ve always had a fascination with broken things and would be found tearing apart electronics to see if I could find the loose or broken part to replace. At school, I enjoyed technology and design classes and gained an A level in the subject, however when I finished, I decided to travel and see the world instead of starting a career here in Northern Ireland.

 “After 12 years working abroad on small ships and boats in the Red Sea and Gulf of Oman, it was time to come home, and I quickly started into my new role as an apprentice engineer at Openreach. Originally, I thought I was too old to be considering an apprenticeship programme, but I soon discovered that wasn’t the case. I joined the programme at 36 years old and haven’t looked back.”

 Both school-leavers and those wishing to retrain for a new career are encouraged to come forward and apply for the Openreach apprenticeship programme, with the company putting a particular focus on increasing female applications. Graduates can expect excellent benefits and world class training and support throughout the programme, working alongside experienced engineers. On completion of the apprenticeship, participants are awarded a full-time position and can look forward to a long and successful career as an Openreach engineer.

Ali continued: “I have progressed rapidly, from completing my apprenticeship to buddying new apprentices and then applying for and gaining a Patch Lead (Team Lead) role with a team of 11 engineers to look after, all within 2 and a half years at Openreach. Every day is different and I meet new customers and encounter complex issues daily. This variety from day to day is invigorating both mentally and physically.

“I am really enjoying my role as Patch lead and very much have ambitions to progress into different parts of the company in the future, to learn more about how a fibre optic network is built and maintained. I may even apply for management someday, if or when the time is right. The team at Openreach have been brilliant at setting me on the right path and encouraging me to keep progressing.

“Even though I have worked for large companies in the past, working for Openreach is so much better. They have a great perks package, a good pension scheme and the working week allows for a good work / life balance.”

 Openreach has committed a further £30 million to the existing £100 million investment in Northern Ireland between 2021 and 2022, and recruitment remains open for new apprentice engineers to join the team in Northern Ireland. With Openreach recently recognised as one of the best companies to work for in the UK for the second year running, it’s an exciting time to join the organisation.

For more information and to apply, visit: