Openreach (BT) announced this morning that it will create 4,000 new jobs in 2022 – including around 3,000 apprentices – to help support the ongoing rollout of a new high-speed Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) ISP network ) gigabit-enabled, which aims to reach 25 million premises by December 2026.
Currently, the operator “full fiber” has already covered 6.442 million premises and is operating at a construction rate of around 50,000 premises per week, although they have previously indicated that this is expected to peak at around 75,000 premises per week and will require more of engineers.
In response, Openreach is now embarking on the biggest recruitment drive in its history, and they’re not just targeting men. In recent years, the network service provider has made a lot more effort to encourage women to take up engineering positions, which seems to be working (for example, the company has employed language experts to transform its offers job descriptions, making them gender-neutral).
Last year around 20% of the operator’s hires were women (compared to less than 5% in 2018/19) – this reflects around 600 women who are in trainee engineer roles and that’s something we they want to repeat year after year. Openreach is also committed to representing the levels of ethnic diversity measured by the ONS across the UK and aims to have 50% of its external management hires also female by 2025.
Clive Selley, CEO of Openreach, said:
“Openreach is first and foremost a people-driven company, so I am proud that we continue to invest heavily in our people, having hired and trained over 8,000 new engineers over the past two years. We’re rightly recognized as one of the best big companies to work for in the UK, and we’re determined to stay that way, so we’ve built state-of-the-art training schools across 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 provide opportunities for people from all walks of life, so I’m encouraged that we recruited more women and minority groups this year compared to last year, but we have a lot more to do. in an industry that has not been very diverse historically.
These new hires 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 strongly believe in the importance of supporting women in STEM and I’m thrilled to see Openreach double the number of women in engineer-in-training positions last year.
Investing in the creation of thousands of new jobs and apprenticeships will also strengthen our mission to improve communities, support economic growth and give more people across the country the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge they need. need to realize their potential.
On top of all this, the operator also plans to retrain over 3,000 of its current engineers over the next year. The goal here is simply to change their focus from fixing old copper-based broadband and telephone technologies to installing and maintaining faster, more reliable fiber optic connections.
Candidates – based across the UK – do not need any formal qualifications to apply for such positions. “All you need is a driver’s license, a strong work ethic, excellent customer service skills and an enthusiasm for working outdoors – Openreach will give you all the equipment and training you need need to do the rest“said the operator.