Openreach creates 500 new Scottish jobs

Company reports record year for hiring women engineers

Natasha Carswell 01

Openreach today announced it will create and fill around 500 more Scottish jobs during 2022 – including around 390 apprenticeships – as it continues to invest billions of pounds into its UK broadband network, people and training.

The new recruits will be based across Scotland – including around 65 posts each in Fife and across Ayrshire, 55 each in Edinburgh and Glasgow, 40 each for Angus and Dundee and Highlands and Islands; and 30 each for Stirling and Scottish Borders – working to build and connect customers to the company’s ultrafast, ultra-reliable Full Fibre broadband network.

The mammoth build is on track to reach 25 million UK homes and businesses by December 2026 and has already reached more than half a million properties in Scotland.

The hiring spree – 4,000 new jobs are being created across the UK – is part of the largest recruitment drive in Openreach’s history and will also help deliver further improvements in customer satisfaction, which is at a record high[1].

With a workforce of 3,700 across Scotland, Openreach already employs the nation’s largest team of telecoms engineers and professionals and has committed to building a more diverse and inclusive team in an industry that’s traditionally been very white, male dominated.

 Last year, 17 per cent of the company’s intake of trainee engineers in Scotland was female, more than triple the previous year. The boost was thanks partly to employing language experts to transform its job adverts and descriptions, making them gender neutral.

Clive Selley, CEO, Openreach, said: “Openreach is a people business first and foremost, so I’m proud that we’re continuing to invest heavily in our people, having hired and trained more than 8,000 new engineers over the last two years, over 800 of them across Scotland.

“We’re rightly recognised as one of the best big companies to work for, and we’re determined to stay that way, so we’ve been building state of the art training schools where we can teach people the skills and techniques they need for long, exciting and rewarding careers in engineering.

“We want to reflect the communities we serve and give opportunities to people from all backgrounds, so I’m encouraged that we’ve recruited more women and minority groups this year compared to last year, but we’ve got much more to do in an industry that hasn’t been very diverse historically.

“These new recruits will play a crucial role as we continue to improve services for our customers and build the biggest and best broadband network in Scotland.”

Scottish Government Employment Minister Richard Lochhead said: “Accessing fast and reliable broadband has never been so important. Building on the early success of our Young Person’s Guarantee and our ongoing significant investment in education, employability and skills, these additional 500 high quality jobs being created by Openreach will increase opportunities across Scotland.

“Apprenticeships are a key way for all employers to continue to invest in their workforce, providing core skills the economy needs now and in the future. This is central to the Scottish Government’s immediate priority to lead the country through the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic into a recovery that protects and creates jobs and backs our young people.”

Natasha Carswell, 30, from Carnwath, Lanark, joined Openreach last year after a career as a hairdresser. She said: “During the pandemic I lost my dad, which made me decide to take life into my own hands and make it a little more exciting. I want to do something that excites me and is different every day. People do get surprised to see a female engineer at the door. I absolutely love when I have a senior customer and doing one extra wee thing, like helping them set up the phone, can make their day and leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling.” 

Alana Marshall, 34, from Dunfermline in Fife was a dog walker before deciding on a change of career. Also a semi-professional footballer, she currently plays for Spartans FC and has been capped for Scotland six times. Alana said: “I’ve always been interested in engineering and wanted to have a good job for my daughter. I really love getting my hands dirty and with this job you certainly do. I never have two days the same and haven't come across anything I don't like so far!

“So far I've had positive customer reactions. I know I’ll come across some challenges in the future - I’m used to it with playing football. I’d tell other women considering engineering to go for it, never have any doubt that you can’t or shouldn’t be doing a job like this. We are just as capable.”

The new roles offer a very competitive starting salary[2] and long-term career prospects, but candidates don’t need any formal qualifications to apply. All you need is a driving license, a strong work ethic, great customer service skills and an enthusiasm to work outdoors – Openreach will give you all the equipment and training you need to do the rest. Click here for a full list of employee benefits.

Alongside its recruitment drive, Openreach has committed to represent ONS measured levels of ethnic diversity3 across the UK and is aiming for at least 20 per cent of its trainee engineer recruits to be women this year, with 50 per cent of its external hires into management to be women by 2025. You can read more about the company’s commitments to Diversity and Inclusion here.

Openreach also plans to retrain more than 3,000 of its existing engineers during the next year – changing their focus from fixing older, copper-based technologies to installing and maintaining faster, more reliable fibre connections. Its national training centre in Livingston, West Lothian, expects to deliver 11,000 training days during the 2022/23 financial year.

Notes to editors

[1] Openreach is on track to deliver all 30 Ofcom-mandated quality of service standards, having delivered a best ever Q3 for ‘on time repair’ and ‘on time provision’ measures. 91% of customers surveyed score Openreach 8 or more out of 10 for customer satisfaction.

[2] The new trainee apprenticeship roles come with a starting salary of £21,845 and recruits can be earning up to £28,353 following 12 months of specialist training to achieve an NVQ level 2/SCQF Level 5 in one of Openreach’s world class training centres.

[3] Openreach has set ethnic minority representation targets for all management, talent entry and team member recruitment in both desk and field roles on a regional basis, so we reflect the local population (data defined by the ONS). As a minimum we will match regional ethnic minority representation in all our recruitment and share these outcomes on a regular basis.