New trainee engineers for Birmingham and the Black Country in Openreach’s biggest ever recruitment drive welcomed by Chancellor of the Exchequer
More than 200 trainee engineers will be hired across the West Midlands - of which around 80 will be based in Birmingham and the Black Country - as part of the largest recruitment drive ever undertaken by Openreach.
The announcement follows news that Openreach, Britain’s leading digital network business, will accelerate plans to build more ultrafast Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) broadband across the country.
The 79 roles, part of 3,500 available across the UK during the next 12 months, will be located around Birmingham and the Black Country, including in Birmingham, Brownhills, Castle Bromwich, Dudley, Hampton-in-Arden, Penn, Sheldon, Walsall and Wolverhampton.
Other areas of the West Midlands where further trainee engineers will be recruited include Bromsgrove, Coventry, Kidderminster, Kinver, Stafford and Worcester.
Openreach has also announced plans to invest about £100,000 over the next 12 months developing a new fibre engineering academy at its Yarnfield Park training centre, near Stone, in Staffordshire, in addition to the pole forest, underground cable chambers and other existing facilities at the site.
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. The roll-out 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 today of Openreach’s new fibre engineering training centre in Bradford, one of 12 new regional centres built to support the fibre roll-out, Clive Selley, chief executive of Openreach, said:“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 per cent 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, including 79 in Birmingham and the Black Country, underlines our commitment to make our ‘Fibre First’ programme a reality - future-proofing Britain’s broadband network and supporting emerging mobile technologies like 5G.”
Richard Hall, infrastructure delivery director for Openreach in the West Midlands, said: “This latest recruitment represents a further major investment in the West Midlands. It’s very exciting news for our region. 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.
“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. West Midlands courses are often held in places like Birmingham, Coventry, Sandwell, Stoke-on-Trent and Walsall. Further details are available at www.movementtowork.com”
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.
- 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 Swindon 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.
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