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Openreach Create 4000 New UK Jobs to Fuel FTTP Broadband Build

Thursday, February 10th, 2022 (12:01 am) - Score 3,744
Female Engineer Pulling Fibre Cable

Openreach (BT) has this morning announced that they will create 4,000 new jobs during 2022 – including around 3,000 apprenticeships – to help support their ongoing deployment of a new gigabit-capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband ISP network, which aims to reach 25 million premises by December 2026.

At present the operator’s “full fibre” network has already covered 6.442 million premises and is running at a build rate of around 50,000 premises per week, although they’ve previously indicated that this is expected to hit a peak of c.75,000 premises per week and that will require more engineers.

In response, Openreach is now embarking on the largest recruitment drive in its history, and they’re not just targeting men. In recent years’ the network access provider has been putting a lot more effort into encouraging women into engineering roles, which seems to be working (e.g. the company employed language experts to transform its job adverts and descriptions, making them gender-neutral).

Last year some 20% of the operator’s recruits were female (up from less than 5% in 2018/19) – this reflects about 600 women going into trainee engineering roles and is something they want to repeat year-on-year. Openreach has also committed to represent ONS measured levels of ethnic diversity across the UK and wants 50% of its external hires into management also to be women by 2025.

Clive Selley, CEO of Openreach, said:

“Openreach is a people business first and foremost, so I’m proud that we’re continuing to invest heavily in our people, having hired and trained more than 8,000 new engineers over the last two years. We’re rightly recognised as one of the best big companies to work for in the UK, and we’re determined to stay that way, so we’ve been building state of the art training schools all over the country where we can teach people the skills and techniques they need for long, exciting and rewarding careers in engineering.

We want to reflect the communities we serve and give opportunities to people from all backgrounds, so I’m encouraged that we’ve recruited more women and minority groups this year compared to last year, but we’ve got much more to do in an industry that hasn’t been very diverse historically.

These new recruits will play a crucial role as we continue to improve services for our customers and build the biggest and best broadband network in the UK, covering millions of rural and urban homes.”

Rishi Sunak MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, said:

“I firmly believe in the importance of supporting women in STEM and am delighted to see Openreach doubling the number of women in trainee engineering roles last year.

Investing in creating thousands of new jobs and apprenticeships will also boost our mission to level-up communities, support economic growth and give more people across the country the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge they need to fulfil their potential.”

In addition to all this, the operator also plans to retrain more than 3,000 of its existing engineers during the next year. The goal here is simply to change their focus from fixing older, copper-based broadband and phone technologies to installing and maintaining faster, more reliable fibre optic connections.

Candidates – based throughout the UK – don’t need any formal qualifications to apply for such positions. “All you need is a driving license, a strong work ethic, great customer service skills and an enthusiasm to work outdoors – Openreach will give you all the equipment and training you need to do the rest,” said the operator.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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26 Responses
  1. Optimist says:

    Will they follow the example of the BBC by using recruitment agencies such as Creative Access which refuse to consider applications from non-BAME people?

  2. John H says:

    Gender neutral has a new meaning nowadays which is anti female, BT needs to think again and call it female friendly.

  3. ad47uk says:

    Why do they have to put about recruiting more women? A couple of years ago, I had a Woman open reach engineer trying to sort out my broadband, If the person can do the job, then does it matter?
    Ok, she could not fix the fault, but she got things moving better than the two male engineers I had a couple of weeks before. Sadly the problem was not fixed as such, Plusnet sent me a different router, which kind of done the job.
    it works fine now, I presume when they took the Huawei stuff out of the cabinet last year, and replaced it, that done the job as any modem will now connect, not just the old Huawei one

    1. anonymous says:

      Sure Openreach replaced the contents of the cabinet with another manufacturer?

      They certainly haven’t done this widely. In part because there is no need right now.

  4. MartinConf says:

    I want to know whats going to happen to all these new recruits when the fibre rollout is complete!!!

    1. Me says:

      Doll queue I’d imagine. I cannot see there being enough work to keep them all on. But then by 2026 the market will have plenty of different ISP’s to join.

    2. JmJohnson says:

      I imagine they’ll be either with Openreach or an alt net.
      They will be overbuilding for at least the next decade.

    3. Alex says:

      People also retire and leave…

    4. NE555 says:

      > Doll queue

      Ha, was that intentional?

      When the fibre network is built, there are a few early adopters, but eventually all the remaining homes have to be converted over in order to retire the copper network.

      This involves visiting every one of 30 million homes, drilling into the wall, installing the ONT etc. This typically happens at least 2 or 3 years after fibre is available, after the customer’s existing contract has ended and the exchange has moved to copper stop-sell.

      At current rates Openreach isn’t going to hit 80% FTTP coverage until 2029, so there should be plenty of work well into the next decade. And after that there are career paths into management and other areas.

    5. Me says:

      @NE555 lol no it wasn’t, but I could lie and claim it was clever wit on my part?

    6. FibreFred says:

      A job doesn’t have to be for life. Don’t be so negative

    7. Icaras says:

      @NE55 At present Openreach use contractors to do FTTP installs, for the most part anyway. Not their own staff.

      Which makes me even more concerned about what the heck they plan to do with all these people. They also use contractors to build the network.

      It doesn’t make sense, but I assume it does to the company.

    8. Ribble says:

      Openreach own predictions that the number of FTTP connections won’t exceed the number of FTTC connections until the turn of the decade, so they will be connecting FTTP using both direct labour and contractors for a long time yet, and that’s on top of the bigger build.
      On top of that , they will have to replace existing field roles due to people moving into office based roles around the country as these positions are moved out of existing sites, many in London and the South East, but in other locations as well. They are losing quite a lot of staff due to EVR and natural wastage

  5. Alex says:

    Not one positive comment.

    Never change ISP Review.

    Never change.

    1. MrTruth says:

      Amazing, fantastic, brilliant, wonderful, lifesavers, just what I always wanted, suits you sir.

    2. El Guapo says:

      I wrote one.

      It was removed.

    3. MrTruth says:

      @El Guapo

      Really?? thats a bit hard to believe

    4. El Guapo says:

      it was in reply to a rather sexist comment about the image being “woke”.
      the entire thread was removed.

  6. Grazza says:

    I would expect approaching a third to leave after basic training and a few months on the job once they experience the extent of the job and the conditions they are expected to work in.

    I have rarely met a happy Openreach engineer.

    1. Uncleknobby says:

      Hello

    2. Icaras says:

      I was one also

  7. Rob says:

    Hopefully the installation of fibre will improve job satisfaction. It must be sole destroying having to patch up such an old network when the reality is nothing is going to get better until FTTP arrives.

    I’ve spoken to a few ex-openreach engineers that say some of the behaviour towards them by customers is shocking and they seem to enjoy jobs away from customer contact as much as possible.

  8. Simon says:

    Surely recruiting 50% of woman into mananagement role requires 50% of the applicants to be female otherwise you are penalising men so for no fault of their own. If recruitment was to be equal and say 40% of applicants are female, then hire 40% in to available positions

  9. Mike says:

    Hiring people based on their gender is positive discrimination, and any form of discrimination is bad.

  10. Graham Tickner says:

    Let’s hope you stop your contractors bodging our network that we took pride in remaking joins, replacing BTs
    You should see there work l. Look across Rd from me & see the bodge,when speaking to him we done do BT rules it’s get job done .they don’t wear helmets,they don’t use GGUs
    Or gaurds.l hope my 22 yrs in BT/ Openreach was not wasted.

    1. anonymous says:

      If it paid your bills and made your customers then happy then it wasn’t.

      As the copper is replaced with fibre all the copper work will be left behind anyway.

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