BT fibre roll out in the UK to create 1,000 new jobs

7 Mar 2013

BT is to create 1,000 new fibre engineering jobs in the UK as part of its stg£2.5bn investment in fibre broadband. The 1,000 jobs are being created at the telco’s Openreach business.

In what must surely be a tantalising glimpse of what could be possible if Ireland ever stopped dithering and finally embarked on an ambitious digital infrastructure plan, the additional jobs will bring to 6,000 the number of people in the UK working on what is believed to be the fastest fibre rollout in the world.

The fibre network is already the largest in the UK, passing more than 13m premises and reaching an extra 100,000 homes and businesses every week.

The 1,000 roles will be filled through a mix of 400 apprentices, 200 former armed forces personnel and other candidates, including the long-term unemployed.

The 400 apprenticeships will put young people through a two-and-half-year training scheme where they will focus on installing new fibre broadband connections in homes during their first year, before going on to learn the full range of engineering tasks.

At the end of their training, the apprentices will receive 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 and other skills needed to progress in the workplace.

“BT’s investment, together with the government’s BDUK (Broadband Delivery UK) programme, will cement the UK’s position as one of the leading broadband nations in Europe,” BT CEO Ian Livingston explained.

“We remain highly confident that fibre can be provided to more than 90pc 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,” Livingston added.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years