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London UK ISP G.Network to Train 255 New Full Fibre Engineers

Tuesday, April 27th, 2021 (9:21 am) - Score 1,320
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UK ISP G.Network, which is building a 10Gbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband network for homes and businesses across London, has launched a new recruitment and training programme that it hopes will tackle the shortage of qualified telecoms engineers by training up an extra workforce of 255 people this year.

At present the provider has already managed to cover 190,000 premises in the city (up from 160k in Dec 2020). On top of that they’ve since been boosted by a major fund raise from USS and Cube Infrastructure Managers, which will enable them to invest £1bn in order to extend their “full fibre” network across 1.4 million premises in London (13 boroughs) over the next 5 years (here).

Naturally such a large project will require significantly more engineers and G.Network are keen to build up their own in-house team, hence today’s announcement. We should point out that the £1bn funding deal envisaged the need to create 1,250 new jobs (mostly engineers), thus the plan to add 255 engineers – those without any previous experience – will not be their only recruitment exercise (they also intend to recruit lots of qualified staff).

Roughly half of the “reskillships” will be funded through the government’s Adult Education Budget (AEB), while G.Network will fund the training of the rest.

Stephanie Ashmore, Chief Talent Officer of G.Network, said:

“We knew early on that we would need to think differently about hiring people to work on our network. Whichever way we examined it, we knew that there weren’t enough qualified people. So we decided to create them.”

G.Network has opened its own “Fibre Academy” facility to train engineers from scratch. Those who join the company will be trained intensively for around four months (paid time) before starting work on the network through a combination of classroom and on-the-job instruction (historically it tends to take a year or more to fully train up a skilled fibre engineer from scratch).

All successfully reskilled engineers will receive a Certified Network Cable Installer (CNCI®) – Fibre certification from recognised provider CNet, amongst other qualifications.

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10 Responses
  1. Avatar John Nolan says:

    I applaud G.Network with this initiative, but I do wish we could move away from the term “engineer” to describe these roles. It took me 15 years to become an engineer so, not surprisingly, I find the use of the term engineer as a catch all quite offensive.

    1. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      I assume you’re talking about PE classification there (Professional Engineer), but the general term “engineer” can these days be used for many applications (Cloud Engineers, Software Engineers etc.). But I do take your point.

    2. Avatar Aled says:

      It’s not a legal word here. In Germany, engineer has a similar status as Dr Etc.

    3. Avatar Marek says:

      Isn’t this more of a marketing? This is more of technician or installer job? That’s like calling construction workers engineer. Hell I’ve read some opinion that network engineer are more of operators role, even more so about NOC or network monitoring positions.

  2. Avatar John Nolan says:

    Mark,
    For info, I am a Chartered Engineer and addressed as such when working outside of the UK. To be frank, the problem lies with the Engineering Council (https://www.engc.org.uk/) and the respective UK institutions (in my case the IET). This is a battle I will never win and, rather ironically, in my very early days with BT (Test Desk) we always answered calls with “Engineers.” Cest la vie.

    1. Avatar Regorimabitbackward says:

      I joined the GPO telecoms in 1966 as an apprentice served 3 years doing a combination of college block release and in field training the last 9 months of field training concentrated on my chosen specialists discipline in my case customer apparatus and line maintenance then I became a qualified engineer tech 2A but continued training regards different types of customer installation for a further 10 years plus. I too did relief work in the local RSC (Repair Service Control) test desk. So to see that it takes about 12 months to train engineers my how things have changed.

    2. Avatar John Nolan says:

      Final words from me on this in that there is the a classification within the Engineering Council that would neatly encapsulate such roles “Engineer” roles i.e. the Information and Communications Technology Technician
      See https://www.engc.org.uk/professional-registration/the-professional-titles/information-communications-technology-technician/
      Too many words, perhaps?

  3. Avatar Regorimabitbackward says:

    My advice to G.Network would be to put some clause in their training contract that stipulates you stay with that company for a minimum term thereby giving some sort of return on their investment otherwise other altnets could poach trained staff for no initial outlay.

    1. Avatar A_Builder says:

      As they do in Germany. There the unions recognise that a properly trained stable workforce is the key.

      The trouble is in the UK the unions hate this. The net result is the a workforce that goes from once place to another. The curse of an over mobile workforce. This does not really work for either the workforce of the employer. As investing in the workforce is almost a total waste of time as +1 milk bottle top they are with £stupid to an agency. Hence the massive skills gap in the UK.

      Yes, if only it was acceptable to for employer to expect employees to pay back for proper training…..the UK might well be a more skilful place.

    2. Avatar Marek says:

      Properly trained people in Germany that are from Turkey or Eastern Europe?

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