Ian Georgeson

CityFibre, PQMS expand network construction training partnership

Former altnet brings online two new training centres in Bury and Pulborough alongside existing site in Coventry

CityFibre has expanded its partnership with training specialist PQMS in support of a three-year recruitment and training programme to create up to 10,000 jobs in constructing full-fibre networks across the UK that the former altnet turned third national digital infrastructure platform announced in June 2020.

PQMS is owned by Hexatronic Group, a specialist supplier of fibre-optic infrastructure components. Hexatronic is a strategic supplier to CityFibre of passive fibre-optic systems including fibre-optic cables, duct and other network components. In 2019, it signed an agreement to supply CityFibre with passive fibre-optic solutions totalling £40m.

PQMS currently provides specialised training for CityFibre’s build partners’ operatives in Coventry, will now increase its capacity, launching new programmes across two additional sites in Bury, Greater Manchester, and Pulborough, West Sussex.

PQMS courses include Streetworks (NRSWA) and accredited physical infrastructure access (PIA), equipping trainees to deliver both new-build networks and utilise BT Openreach’s ducts and poles. CityFibre and PQMS have also designed bespoke training modules specifically for CityFibre’s own PIA network architecture. Particular focus will be placed on health and safety training, as well as maintenance of the highest-quality standards.

To ensure the delivery of its £4bn Gigabit City investment programme, CityFibre is supporting its build partners to grow their businesses with long-term contracts for whole-town or whole-city deployments. It says it is providing recruitment and training programmes through partners such as PQMS to help ensure sufficient skilled construction workers are in place to deliver the huge expansion in concurrent roll-outs targeting eight million premises.

“We are delighted to extend our partnership with PQMS, who have proven themselves to be a valuable and ambitious partner in our drive to secure the capacity of our build programme,” said Richard Thorpe, chief delivery officer at CityFibre.

“The training provided is a real opportunity to create a new generation of network construction workers, skilled in the deployment and maintenance of the digital networks of the future. We are already seeing graduates flourish in new roles and we look forward to thousands more joining our ranks and helping us to build a world-class infrastructure for the UK.”

Liam Minehane, CEO at PQMS Training, added: “PQMS is delighted to be supporting the development of CityFibre’s training programme and to have been awarded a preferred supplier agreement to deliver specialist training to both CityFibre’s staff and their construction partners.”

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