National Apprenticeship Champion Connects with Trainee Engineers in Peterborough

Politician and Labour Party life peer, Lord Anthony Young, was left ‘extremely impressed’ after being taken on a behind-the-scenes tour of Openreach’s Peterborough Training School.

Lord Young, former General Secretary of the National Communications Union and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Skills and Apprenticeships, visited the centre on Saville Road, one of Openreach’s largest training facilities in the UK.

The site is where, each year, more than 2,000 engineers learn new skills and get to grips with the latest technology behind the UK’s largest telephone and broadband network. Openreach connects everything from homes and schools to businesses and government departments.

Lord Young, who started his career as a telephone engineer, toured ‘Open Street’ – a pretend indoor street, where engineers carry out some of their training, in an environment that’s as close to reality as possible. There’s a mock telephone exchange, a new build site, three houses and even a small block of flats.

He was also able to spend time in some of the classrooms and speak with engineers who’re currently going through their training, speaking at length with the trainees about their background, why they chose a career in engineering and how they manage to overcome the challenges of the job.

Speaking after the visit, Lord Young said: “I’d like to thank Openreach for organising such a fascinating visit. It was great to meet the apprentices training at Peterborough, and it’s given me a great overview of what’s involved in delivering fibre all the way from the telephone exchange to the customer premises.

“As a former telecoms engineer myself, I particular enjoyed watching the new recruits go through their training, climbing up poles and learning the importance of health and safety. Speaking to the new recruits, it was really reassuring to hear their positive views on the quality of the training and support they’re receiving.”

The Peterborough training centre is important for more than 3,000 Openreach people who live and work across the East of England.

Mark Rainbow, Openreach’s Senior Learning and Facilities Manager, hosted the visit: “It was a pleasure to welcome Lord Young to our Peterborough training centre. He has vast knowledge of the telecoms industry and is a well-known and respected national champion for Apprenticeships, and was really interested in finding out more about how we work. We were able to show him ‘Open Street’ where engineers are learning and training with some of the newest technology available in the UK.”

Openreach’s engineering team is currently expanding. Earlier this year, more than 1,500 new engineering jobs were announced including around 400 in the East of England region.

This recruitment is helping Openreach lead the UK rollout of faster, more reliable and future-proof broadband networks. More than 1.8 million premises can already benefit from Full Fibre, with ambitions to go further.

For more information about careers with Openreach and training that’s available visit the Openreach website.