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Prime Minister welcomes 1,000 new fibre engineering jobs at BT

Press Release   •   Mar 07, 2013 00:00 GMT

400 apprenticeships to be created 200 further jobs reserved for armed forces personnel 

BT is to launch a major new recruitment drive as its £2.5 billion pound investment in fibre broadband starts to pay off. More than 1,000 engineering jobs are being created at the company’s Openreach business, with most of the new recruits set to install fibre broadband in customers’ homes. The jobs announced today are in addition to 1,500 extra engineers who were recruited during the past year. 

Following this recruitment, there will be more than 6,000 people working on what is believed to be the fastest fibre roll out in the world. BT’s fibre network is already the largest in the UK, passing more than 13 million premises, and the technology is being made available to an additional 100,000 homes and businesses every week. 

The recruitment drive reflects BT’s success with winning BDUK[1] work that is helping to extend the benefits of fibre broadband to areas that may not have been served otherwise. It also reflects the strong demand for fibre that the company is now experiencing. 

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “I warmly welcome the announcement from BT today. Working with business, the Government is driving a transformation in UK broadband services and with an extra 100,000 homes and businesses gaining superfast broadband availability each week, this is already taking shape. Providing much faster broadband speeds, and enabling millions more homes and businesses to enjoy these speeds is vital for driving investment and equipping the UK to compete and thrive in the global race.” 

BT chief executive Ian Livingston added: “BT’s investment, together with the government’s BDUK programme, will cement the UK’s position as one of the leading broadband nations in Europe. We remain highly confident that fibre can be provided to more than 90 per cent of UK homes and businesses, making the UK a global digital leader. 

“Faster broadband will help to fuel the UK economy and the jobs we are creating are part of that. Almost half of the jobs will be offered under our popular apprenticeship scheme giving young people the chance to earn a recognised qualification and pursue a career as a skilled telecoms engineer.” 

The business will fill the 1,000 posts with a mix of apprentices, further armed forces personnel and other candidates, including some long-term unemployed. 

Four hundred apprenticeships are to be offered, providing young people with a training scheme lasting two and a half years. These apprentices will focus on installing new fibre broadband connections in customers’ homes during their first year, before going on to learn the full range of engineering tasks in the remaining months. 

At the end of their training, the apprentices will achieve a BTEC Level 3 Diploma and Certificate in ICT Systems and Principles. As part of their qualification, apprentices will also complete academic studies in Maths, English and ICT, providing them with the essential skills needed to progress in the workplace. 

These apprenticeships are likely to be much sought after. BT has recruited around 460 apprentices to date in the current financial year having received 18,500 applications – more than 40 for each available position. 

Openreach will work with the Ministry of Defence and the Careers Transition Partnership to attract further people who are due to leave the armed forces. The business has recruited more than 1,000 staff from the armed forces in the past two years and is keen to find a further 200 under this latest recruitment programme. 

The remaining 400 roles will be filled via other routes with a focus on offering some of the roles to the long term unemployed. 

1 Broadband Delivery UK

Notes to editors 
BT’s fibre footprint is the largest in the UK with the company investing £2.5 billion to make fibre broadband available to two thirds of UK homes and businesses. The company is on course to hit that milestone during Spring 2014 – some eighteen months ahead of its original schedule – and has already passed more than 13 million premises with fibre. 

This deployment – believed to be the fastest in the world - will see BT’s core engineering workforce deploy more than 50,000 kilometres of fibre from around 1,700 telephone exchanges across the UK.