Around 220 trainee engineers will be hired across Yorkshire and the Humber 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 220 roles in Yorkshire and the Humber, part of 3,500 being recruited across the UK during the next 12 months, will be located across the region in locations including York, Beverley, Doncaster, Huddersfield and Halifax.
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: Leeds, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Liverpool, London and Manchester.
A new state-of-the-art fibre engineering school has been established at Bradford, one of 12 training centres being built across the UK to support the fibre roll-out.
Speaking ahead of the official opening today of Openreach’s new fibre engineering training centre in Bradford, 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 around 220 in Yorkshire and the Humber, underlines our commitment to make our ‘Fibre First’ programme a reality – future-proofing Britain’s broadband network and supporting emerging mobile technologies like 5G.”
The Bradford training centre on Legrams Lane has undergone a £1.2 million transformation and is now equipped with the latest fibre engineering training facilities. The site was established in the 1970s and was previously home to installers, equipment testers, payphones engineers, pole erection teams and cable gangs.
Central to the Bradford training centre is ‘Open Street’, a mock-up of a typical British residential road, giving Openreach recruits and engineers a safe, real-life network to learn and practise every aspect of their work. A further investment of £100,000 will take place this year in order to provide further classrooms for the state-of-the-art training centre.
The Bradford facility includes a live fibre network which connects a local phone exchange to an office, shop and houses through pavements, ducts, poles and cabinets. Everything an engineer encounters during their typical working day is found here – from cabling to jointing and repairs, working underground or overhead, up telephone poles and installing new services inside customers’ homes.
Derek Richardson, programme director for Openreach in Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “This latest recruitment represents a further major investment in our region. It’s very exciting news. 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.
“Courses are often held in places like Northallerton, Leeds, Doncaster and Sheffield. Further details are available at www.movementtowork.com”