Openreach to create 275 new Scottish jobs

Commitment to upgrade Scotland's 3,500-strong fleet to electric vehicles by 2030

Engineer up pole silhouette

Openreach today bucked the prevailing economic trend by creating at least 275 new Scotland-based engineering jobs to be filled during 2021, alongside more roles in its supply chain.

The new Openreach roles in locations across the country will enable the company to continue improving service levels across its existing networks, whilst building and connecting customers to its new, ultrafast, ultra-reliable ‘Full Fibre’ broadband network at a record pace.

They include 47 posts for Fife; 36 for Edinburgh and the Lothians; 35 for the North of Scotland (including Perth and Kinross); 32 across Ayrshire; 40 for the Glasgow City Region; 22 for Scottish Borders; and 17 each for Stirling, Clackmannanshire and Dumfries and Galloway.

Across the UK, 5,300 jobs are being created, including more than 2,500 full-time jobs in Openreach’s own service and network build divisions, as well as an estimated 2,800 positions in its UK supply chain, through partners such as KN Circet and Morrison Telecom Services. Both have both been awarded contracts to support Openreach’s full fibre build in Scotland.

The UK’s largest digital infrastructure firm has separately made a commitment to upgrade all 27,000 Openreach vehicles[i] - the second largest commercial fleet in the UK, with 3,500 vehicles in Scotland - to electric by 2030.

Scottish Government Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, Paul Wheelhouse, said: “I warmly welcome this news that Openreach is recruiting 275 more engineers to help keep Scotland connected and to further extend access to digital infrastructure for broadband services.

“Having visited Openreach’s training school in Livingston in early 2020, I could see for myself the excellent work done there and that the right engineering skills and ensuring a strong supply of them are going to be vital for Scotland as we move towards a full fibre future. These are also the sort of highly skilled and well paid jobs we need to create a low carbon, highly digitised economy.

“With Openreach securing the contracts to deliver superfast and gigabit speed broadband infrastructure across Scotland for our £600 million Reaching 100% Programme, this clearly supports this investment in future jobs and skills and is a key part of our ambition to deliver world-class digital infrastructure for Scotland. It is also excellent news that Openreach is fully decarbonising its vehicle fleet in Scotland and I welcome that investment in Scotland’s energy transition as we move to net zero emissions.”

The announcement comes as the firm hit a record build rate for its Full Fibre broadband programme, which aims to reach 20 million homes and businesses by the mid-to-late 2020s on the assumption it obtains the required critical enablers. Openreach engineers are now delivering faster, more reliable connectivity to another 40,000 homes and businesses every week, or the equivalent of a home every 15 seconds.

Full fibre build is already under way in dozens of locations across Scotland, including Aberdeen, Ardrossan, Edinburgh, greater Glasgow, Kilmarnock, Penicuik, Ellon, Inverurie, Kelty, Lanark, Findhorn and Elgin.

The Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) have found that a nationwide Full Fibre broadband network would boost UK productivity by £59 billion by 2025 – and updated modelling suggests it could enable nearly one million more people to access employment including over 300,000 carers, nearly 250,000 older workers and 400,000 parents.

The pandemic has accelerated changes in working patterns and, with full fibre, nearly two million more people than previously estimated could also choose to work from home in the long term, reducing transport and housing pressures in big cities and boosting local and rural economies across the country.

Robert Thorburn, Openreach Scotland partnership director, said: “As a major employer and infrastructure builder, we believe Openreach can play a leading role in helping Scotland to build back better and greener. Our Full Fibre network build is going faster than ever and we’re now looking for people across the country to build a career with Openreach and help us upgrade broadband connections and continue improving service levels. We’re also investing in our supply chain, which will support the creation of thousands more jobs all over the UK.

“We know the network we’re building can deliver a host of green benefits – from consuming less power to enabling more home working and fewer commuting trips – and we’re going to take that a step further, by committing to build and maintain that network using state of the art electric vehicles across our 3,500-strong Scottish fleet. We’ll have completely transitioned to EVs by 2030.”

More than 3.5 million premises can now order a gigabit capable Full Fibre broadband service from a range of competing service providers using Openreach’s new network, and the company is on track to reach its target of upgrading 20 million homes and businesses by the mid-to-late 2020s – assuming the right investment conditions exist.

Openreach already employs more than 34,500 people, including more than 25,000 engineers who build, maintain and connect customers to its nationwide broadband network. Of these, around 3,200 live and/or work in Scotland. Over the last two years, Openreach has created more than 600 trainee engineering roles in Scotland to support its build programme and to deliver improved customers service.

The new trainee apprenticeship roles will be filled during 2021 and come with a starting salary of £21,845. Recruits can be earning up to £28,353 following 12 months of specialist training in one of Openreach’s world class training centres.

To find out more about becoming an Openreach engineer please visit our website at www.openreach.co.uk/te


Notes to Editors

[i] Not including specialist vehicles and equipment (e.g. hoists/cherry-pickers, ditch witches etc)

Partner quotes

Conor Foley, MD for KN Circet UK, said: “We are delighted to have been chosen by Openreach to assist with the Full Fibre Project in the UK. Our footprint across the UK has given us an ideal platform to deliver a quality product in a timely and safe manner.

“As we support Openreach with one of the largest infrastructure projects in Scotland and across the UK presently, we have invested in our training facilities and are committed to expanding our highly-skilled telecoms workforce. We will to continue to engage with local talent to support our delivery profile.”

Pat Carolan, Managing Director of Morrison Telecom Services commented: “We are now mobilising to commence works on the delivery of full-fibre broadband to homes and businesses in Scotland, Lancashire, Yorkshire, Essex, West Sussex and Kent over the coming months.

Our investment has included the recruitment of 70 trainees to support our survey and design activities, as well as the establishment of training facilities in Risby, Leyland and Blantyre for the onboarding of further recruits for our new civils, cabling and fibre splicing teams.

Our short-term objective is to work with local communities on the recruitment of up to 500 people to support our delivery of this critical infrastructure build programme and we will be looking to expand our involvement across the UK as the programme evolves.”

About Openreach 

Openreach Limited is the UK’s digital network business. 

We’re 35,000 people, working in every community to connect homes, schools, shops, banks, hospitals, libraries, mobile phone masts, broadcasters, governments and businesses – large and small – to the world. 

Our mission is to build the best possible network, with the highest quality service, making sure that everyone in the UK can be connected. 

We work on behalf of more than 660 communications providers like SKY, TalkTalk, Vodafone, BT and Zen, and our broadband network is the biggest in the UK, passing more than 31.8m UK premises.

Over the last decade we’ve invested more than £14 billion into our network and, at more than 185 million kilometres, it’s now long enough to wrap around the world 4,617 times. 

Today we’re building an even faster, more reliable and future-proof broadband network which will be the UK’s digital platform for decades to come.

We’re making progress towards our FTTP target to reach 20m premises by mid-to-late 2020s. We’ve also hired more than 3,000 trainee engineers this past financial year to help us build that network and deliver better service across the country. Openreach is a highly regulated, wholly owned, and independently governed unit of the BT Group. More than 90 per cent of our revenues come from services that are regulated by Ofcom and any company can access our products under equivalent prices, terms and conditions. 

For the year ended 31 March 2020, we reported revenue of £5bn. 

For more information, visit www.openreach.co.uk.