Broadband News

12 new fibre schools and 3,500 new engineers to install full fibre

Openreach has announced a major expansion of its workforce, with the aim of recruiting some 3,500 trainee engineers and the need for a larger workforce is simply because deploying full fibre to three million individual premises is much more labour intensive than delivering fibre to around 88,000 street cabinets.

The scale of the new recruitment is obvious when you learn that Openreach has some 22,000 field engineers and last year hired 1,800. For 18 to 24 year olds there are also 500 work placements under the Movement to Work programme which is open to those not in education, employment or training. More details on the trainee engineer scheme is available on the BT website for those considering applying.

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% 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 underlines our commitment to make our ‘Fibre First’ programme a reality – future-proofing Britain’s broadband network and supporting emerging mobile technologies like 5G.

I’m confident that our twin investment in people and infrastructure will help the UK achieve the societal and economic benefits that come from better, more reliable, faster broadband services.

Clive Selley, Chief Executive of Openreach

12 new fibre engineering schools will be created to provide the training and the first in Bradford has opened with a sample street constructed so that the training is not just bench based but much closer to the real world. The full list of 12 schools is Bradford, Bolton, Cardiff, Croydon, Hertford, Livingston, Nursling, Peterborough, Thornaby and Yarnfield already live, and buildings in Exeter and the Thames Valley opening soon.

The spread of the schools shows that the recruiting is across Great Britain and numbers of roles split down into regional allocations is 400 roles in Scotland; 297 in the North East (inc. Yorkshire & Humber); 283 in the North West; 303 in North Wales & the North Midlands; 444 in East Anglia; 354 in South Wales & the South Midlands; 300 in the South East, 505 in London; 400 in South Central and 214 in the South West.

A small thing that is cropping up is that as the scale of the Openreach FTTP footprint expands we are seeing some of the similar confusion and mistake issues that arose when the original VDSL2 roll-outs started back in 2009 to 2012 but as different areas get past their first few active FTTP connections the oddities that arise will hopefully be shared between the workforce and new recruits shown how to handle those scenarios. Fingers crossed then that as we see coverage increase from around 500,000 to 1 million then 2 million and higher the number of delays on installs will reduce even though a higher volume is being handled.


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