Chancellor welcomes boost to Britain’s digital economy with largest recruitment drive in Openreach history
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP, today welcomed news that 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.
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.”
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.”
Notes to editors
Recruitment to support Openreach’s ‘Fibre First’ programme
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First of 12 new national fibre engineering schools opens in Bradford
3,500 new engineers will help deliver ultrafast Fibre to the Premises broadband to three million premises, support evolving mobile networks and improve customer service
Including suppliers, 5,000 new jobs will be created to support of Openreach’s network investment plans
- The 3,500 roles include (across Openreach’s ten service delivery regions) 400 roles in Scotland; 297 in the North East (inc. Yorkshire & Humber); 283 in the North West; 303 in North Wales & the North Midlands; 444 in East Anglia; 354 in South Wales & 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.
- The new Bradford training school has been meticulously 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.
- The business is creating 12 such facilities across Britain – with centres in Bradford, Bolton, Cardiff, Croydon, Hertford, Livingston, Nursling, Peterborough, Thornaby and Yarnfield already live, and buildings in Exeter and the Thames Valley opening soon.
- 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.