Skip Navigation

Openreach recruiting more Armed Forces leavers
Monday 22 October 2012 11:04:45 by Andrew Ferguson

Openreach is expanding its work force once again. It is looking to take on another 250 engineering staff from the pool of people set to leave the Armed Forces in the next year. Openreach has announced that it will offer leavings the opportunity to spend three months on a civilian attachment as part of the MOD's Career Transition Partnership, with the offer of a full-time post assuming various criteria are met during the attachment.

Assuming the full 250 are recruited this would take the number ex-Forces personnel recruited to more than 1,000 and the total number of new recruits to Openreach to 1,900 since March 2011 if our numbers are correct.

With Openreach suffering delays to work due to the small matter of adverse weather conditions over the summer, and the likelihood of more work coming via the BDUK/Local Authority projects over the next three years and beyond the need to expand the workforce is pretty urgent.


Posted by Spectre_01 over 4 years ago
Goodnews in this economy. Intrested in how the transition link between the MOD and Openreach is working, hopefully these are long term contracts.
Posted by tommy45 over 4 years ago
From various reports of bodged FTTC installs by these ex squaddies, it would seem that they are not being properly trained by BT openreach, So if that is anything to go by,(lack of investment in people) then once the FTTC roll out is complete they will be layed off, or pushed out with perhaps the exception of a few
Posted by audioslim over 4 years ago
Surely this just flies in the face of equal opportunities?

Posted by pcoventry76 over 4 years ago
I just dont get it - ignore the people out there already qualified and recruit someone just because they were in the forces.

Maybe it's just me - but it seems silly
Posted by DJBlu2003 over 4 years ago
There is one reason they are employing ex-forces and that is subsidized training under the Career Transition Scheme.

If the individual qualifies for higher level Enhanced Learning credits also then there is up to £6000 over 3 years available for future training. The amount of courses that are set up to maximize the amount of cash they receive is unreal.

Times this by 1000 employees and you've got a saving of up to £6 million.
Posted by Spectre_01 over 4 years ago
The other reason is that they form Openreach's 'Mobile Workforce' which suits the need for them to be able to work anywhere in the country at short notice, being straight out of the services they aren't particularly fixed or committed to living in a particular place and are able to move around with ease which works well for all parties concerned.

Also don't confuse the Mobile workforce with apprentice teams and contractors who are also doing the FTTC managed installs and have a less then perfect record.
Posted by Spectre_01 over 4 years ago
Historically since the recession Openreach has not had to lay anyone off, staffing issues have been taken care of by re-deployment and natural retirement.

I'm sure that when the mass deployment of FTTC is completed there will be further fibre on demand work to be done so they will be re-skilled towards that and there are always engineers retiring from the customer service teams - I highly doubt that they will be turfed out when the FTTC roll out has completed.
Posted by SeanB84 over 4 years ago
Seems a positive thing to see ex forces personnel in employment, good on them. I'm sure they will be hard working and reliable employees.
Posted by eviemai2011 over 4 years ago
It's not all just ex-forces they have take on. There's quite a few ex-VM employers and they have taken planners and moved them across. The training is a 2 week course followed by doubling up with an engineer for a short time. They have recruited people from their areas and haven't taken ex-forces just because they will live anywhere. All the training is copper based but most ex-forces have done a few courses after leaving covering both fibre and copper. But let's face it anyone can pass the courses but most struggle when it comes to putting it into place in the real world.
Posted by eviemai2011 over 4 years ago
Bt have delayed and held back the UK from FTTH and seem to be wasting even more money by going the FTTC route just so they can tick the box and meet government targets. Using BDUK to find their network in rural areas just so they meet the minimum 2 mb service. It's a joke and they should be doing true fibre into the premises!!
Posted by GMAN99 over 4 years ago
How do they fund that then evie? They aren't holding back anyone. From next year you can have FTTP if you want it in a FTTC area, no holding back at all

Posted by Bob_s2 over 4 years ago
Many of the ex militery staff are ex signals so are highly skilled enginneers well used to deploying advanced telecoms equipment in battle field conditions so I doubt they will find working on street cabinets that difficult
Posted by infinidim over 4 years ago
I think that this is a great idea that Openreach have got - using Armed Forces leavers. I have worked with Armed Forces leavers in both the USA and the UK and they are some of the best workers out there.
Posted by themanstan over 4 years ago
Absolute tosh Evie.

OFCOM didn't give permission till the end of 2008 for BT to enter the domestic fibre market.

And what about all the other players, nothing has stopped them from opening their wallets and rolling out nationwide fibre. Only the same thing as BT cost...

£15B (the minimum that a FTTH for the whole of the UK) is pretty much BTs market cap.
Posted by eviemai2011 over 4 years ago
@GMANN most of the funding is from within BT itself. Why has the BDUK been delayed. It's basically a back door in to help fund the rural areas as there isn't a decent return. As for FTTP as you have FTTC. How do you propose they simple switch over to that. It's different technology. The main FTTP solution is based on PON (around 7 versions of the UG joint) and aerial version is slightly different ( example is the project down Cornwall)
Posted by eviemai2011 over 4 years ago
@BOB & INFINIDIM couldn't agree with you more ex-forces are good people to employ. Mainly due to the discipline and work ethos (you do get some bad apples) only thing is its totally different working in the commercial world than battlefield experience and that's talking from experience in both. There are quite s few signals but its not as top heavy with the trades as you think and many are senior ranks whose job had been management roles! The last course to pass out is fairly split between other members of the armed forces, raf and navy and a lot from bt internal staff itself.
Posted by eviemai2011 over 4 years ago
@themanstan love you too ;)

BT have not pushed to get the fibre through. There's been a few community groups being set up but like a lot of things BT has charged quite a bit to connect into the network. Look at the failed DRL project in Yorkshire. How many customers was BT willing to connect (2 per day!!!) how can you connect customers onto that network, but BT cannot be solution blamed for that as DRL did a bad job advertising it etc.
Posted by eviemai2011 over 4 years ago
if you look at the deployment methods and equipment it's still based on the Blown Fibre solution that was invented back in the early 80's although the new joints are looking quite nice!
Posted by eviemai2011 over 4 years ago
The OCR is very labour intensive and I do realise that the main faults and problems can occur there. A simple ODF does the same job and had more capacity. Better trained engineers and restrictions are needed. As a lot of the contractors they are using open reach are having to fix. They're even resulting in posting cards through the properties as the cost is half the price of the actual install! A big shake up is needed.
Posted by themanstan over 4 years ago
What with Evie?

The UK is far behind on FTTH because of the nature of the market and the regulator, not because of BT. France Telecom which has several years head start aims to have 60% coverage by 2020... are you prepared to wait that long to find out that you are in that 40% that's missed out? And the UK is 4-5 years behind on deployment. FTTC is sensible because it allows a large footprint to be deployed to in a short time, i.e. 5 years not 15 years!

Shaking up is all well and good but where is the money to pay for it all going to come from?
Posted by eviemai2011 over 4 years ago
BT have jut say back and the comments that 80mb is more than enough for the UK I the typical attitude. There too slow to react to the expanding market and too many processes hold that back along with people stuck in their ways and really find it difficult to use something that is not there own idea.
Posted by eviemai2011 over 4 years ago
KPN tried FTTC and found it wasn't cost effective. Now in collaboration with reggefibre they are deploying the p2p solution. With technology the ways it heading people will need more than the 80mb. Will BT suddenly move from FTTC to FTTP. No because the revenue needed they won't be able to just simply switch over.
Posted by eviemai2011 over 4 years ago
They need to future proof it.
You say where ate they getting the money from. How are they funding the FTTC, the PON deployment not only saves money on the network build it also reduces the electricity costs be millions on pounds while also reducing the foot print for exchange areas and consolidating a few and getting returns off the sale of exchange land!
Posted by tony8436 over 4 years ago
Just another publicity stunt by Openreach. They make out that they are showing support for the Forces, but at the same time, they deny the Forces more than 1.5Mbps broadband. I am in the military and have never had more than this, and have been told that I never will. Even if my exchange were upgraded, my cabinet would not be, and this is the same for around 90% of MOD married quaters. BDUK wont even help as my council did not receive any funding.
Posted by eviemai2011 over 4 years ago
Tony they are employing a lot as they need the blokes on the ground to keep up with the demand. When it comes to the married quarters etc its more the military side than BT. Another project we worked on we did upgrade the married quarters but that was the RAF (enough said on that!)
Just wait till the project has finished there will be a big scale down on personnel.
Posted by themanstan over 4 years ago
Um...Are you saying that getting £2.5B capital is the same as getting £15B+?

If that's the case no point carrying on this discussion...

Posted by eviemai2011 over 4 years ago
Have you done the costs on FTTC to FTTP? Saying that the last drop is going to cost £1000 per customer. They have really inflated and used high civils cost instead of using an alternative method/design which is already out there. It's all about numbers and hitting targets for them. I've said before they are inflexible and if it's not from within they are not interested. I've seen it for many years and its still the same processes!
Posted by themanstan over 4 years ago
The costs for FTTH have dropped from BT's and most other estimates from north of £25B to a bit more than £15B, which most telecoms media accept as an accurate estimate for ~95% rollout of FTTH.

Alternatives work great in places like the Netherland and US where there is defined locations for routing utilities. The UK's hodgepodge of we'll put it here an put it on a map mean that we can't do the cheaper versions, like microtrenching (much as I'd love us to be able to).
Posted by themanstan over 4 years ago
An alternative method/design isn't going to work unless there was a grass roots level revision of all utilities with the agreement of all utilities. Herding cats would be easier.
Posted by eviemai2011 over 4 years ago
Micro trenching and slot cutting does have its advantages. But again it is quite expensive. There are other products that can be used especially for the last drop and its more the deployment methods where choosing a different approach and material can save money and that's without interruption to other utilities :)

Right I'm going away to practice herding cats!
Posted by eviemai2011 over 4 years ago
Just for themanstan :)

Posted by julika over 4 years ago
How about training their existing staff first?
Posted by twaitesb over 4 years ago
Does anyone know how to apply for a position if your not in the forces? I left 2 years ago and cant seem to find a way? I have many friends who have gone in straight from the forces but I cant get anywhere
You must be logged in to post comments. Click here to login.