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Openreach to recruit 3,000 apprentices to support UK-wide full-fibre network deployment

New recruits from “all walks of life” will be trained at one of 12 educational facilities Openreach is set to open across the country

Openreach has launched a nationwide hunt for 3,000 apprentice engineers as it sets about connecting 10 million UK homes and business to full-fibre broadband networks by 2025.

The national network builder, previously part of BT, said the new recruits will be hired over the next 12 months, with about 1,600 of them expected to take up a range of newly created roles.

This latest recruitment campaign will build on a similar push by the company to add 6,500 engineering apprentices to its workforce, with the new recruits to receive training at one of the 12 Openreach educational facilities it is set to open.

So far, it has opened one facility in Bradford and another today (28 January) in Peterborough, with several more earmarked for opening over the next three months.

Kevin Brady, HR director at Openreach, said the firm is keen to attract new recruits from “all walks of life” and build a diverse workforce that reflects the communities the company serves.

“Last year we successfully recruited more women than ever before – and this year we want to go even further,” said Brady.

“Our training schools will help us to meet our new training demands and, in March this year, we will have almost doubled the learning days we deliver annually to more than 160,000 – the highest in the history of our business.”

There will be an emphasis within the training on equipping new recruits with the skills needed to ensure they can complete as much work as possible during a single visit to a customer site, said Brady, adding that successful applicants will receive industry-recognised qualifications.

“Becoming an engineer can be an incredibly rewarding career, and we are constantly improving our training and recruitment programmes, providing recognised qualifications, to make sure we attract and keep the best in the business,” he said.

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While Openreach has committed to connecting 10 million premises to its full-fibre network by 2025, it has also outlined its ambitions to have the first three million homes and businesses hooked up to this network by the end of 2020.

Openreach CEO Clive Selley said the firm is making “great progress” towards its goals, adding 13,000 premises to its network each week, and the new recruits will help this momentum to continue.

“In the last year, we have learnt to build at high quality and at a competitive cost,” he said. “This year, we will prove that we can build the network on a vast scale and connect customers seamlessly.

“Openreach is a people business and our new apprentices will enable us to fulfil our commitments, with an ultimate ambition to deliver the best possible connectivity to everyone, everywhere, equally across the entire country.”

Alongside its training and recruitment plans, Openreach has also confirmed 11 locations where its full-fibre network will be rolled out over the next months – Bury, Barking and Dagenham, Bexley, Croydon, Greater Glasgow, Harrow, Merton, Redbridge, Richmond upon Thames, Sutton Coldfield and Salford.

This brings the total number of towns, cities and boroughs Openreach has committed to build out in to 25 so far, with the company vowing to keep residents updated on the progress of its deployments with regular updates on its website.

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