Openreach has announced that it is creating 400 new jobs in the south west in 2022, with 300 of the positions set to be apprenticeships and 20 per cent of new hires to be women.
The company is investing billions of pounds in the UK’s broadband network, as well as in people and training – creating 4,000 new jobs across the UK as part of its biggest ever recruitment drive.
The new recruits will be working to build Openreach’s ultrafast, ultra-reliable full fibre broadband network, which is set to bring better connectivity to 55,000 homes and businesses in Gloucestershire, as well as to 25 million homes and businesses across the country, by December 2026.
Openreach is also retraining more than 3,000 of its existing engineers to shift their focus from repairing copper-based technology to installing and maintaining its faster, more reliable fibre connections.
The company currently employs 3,500 people in the south west and has the UK’s biggest team of telecoms engineers – and the company says it has committed to increasing diversity and inclusivity in what has traditionally been a ‘very white, male-dominated’ industry.
In 2021, Openreach hired a record number of female engineers, with 19 per cent of engineers taken on in the south west being women – and a target to up that to 20 per cent in the coming year. It also employed more than double the number of women in trainee engineering roles, compared with the previous year.
The company puts this increase partly down to employing experts from Exeter University to make its job adverts and descriptions gender neutral.
It is also aiming for 50 per cent of its external hires into management to be women by 2025.
CEO of Openreach, Clive Selley, 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 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.’
Openreach says that starting salaries for its new roles are ‘very competitive’ and offer ‘long-term career prospects.’ No formal qualifications are necessary, as Openreach provides all the equipment and training required – all candidates need is a full, clean driving license.