Openreach creates 540 new jobs after a record year for hiring female engineers

OPENREACH has announced it will create and fill around 540 more jobs in the North West including Warrington during 2022.

This includes more than 400 apprenticeships – as it continues to invest billions of pounds into its UK broadband network, people and training.

The new recruits will be based across every county in the region, working to build and connect customers to the company’s ultrafast, ultra-reliable Full Fibre broadband network. The mammoth build is on track to reach 25 million UK homes and businesses by December 2026 including hundreds of thousands in the North West. The hiring spree – 4,000 new jobs are being created across the UK – is part of the largest recruitment drive in Openreach’s history and will also help deliver further improvements in customer satisfaction, which is at a record high.

Openreach already employs the UK’s largest team of telecoms engineers and professionals, and has committed to building a more diverse and inclusive team in an industry that’s traditionally been very white, male dominated. Last year, the company attracted 600 women into trainee engineering roles – more than double the previous year. The boost was thanks partly to employing language experts to transform its job adverts and descriptions, making them gender neutral.

Kerry Biggar is 54 and from Audenshaw in Manchester. She said: “Before joining Openreach last year I worked in hospitality in Manchester City Centre. However, when Covid hit, the industry collapsed and I was furloughed and eventually made redundant. I knew people who worked in Openreach and they kept telling me to go for it so I applied not really knowing what to expect.

“It’s been a brilliant move for me and it’s great at my age to start work in a completely new industry and know there are still opportunities ahead. I joined as a cabler but am already working on a managed service project and learning completely new skills.

“I would absolutely recommend Openreach to other women. It’s a completely different environment to the one I was used to and certainly a lot more physical but it’s great. I think a lot of women would be surprised how much they would enjoy it.”

Nicola Lawson is 39 and from Warrington. She joined Openreach having previously worked for a communication provider. She said: “I had a number of friends and family who worked at Openreach and they all loved it so when the opportunity came up to apply for a job I did it and have never looked back. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed learning new skills and love the fact every day is different and I’m accountable and responsible for my own work. I’d encourage any woman thinking about a change in career to just go for it!”

Clive Selley, CEO, 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.”

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak 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.”

The new roles offer a very competitive starting salary and long-term career prospects, but candidates don’t need any formal qualifications to apply. 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. Click here for a full list of employee benefits.

Alongside its recruitment drive, Openreach has committed to represent ONS measured levels of ethnic diversity3 across the UK and is aiming for at least 20 percent of its trainee engineer recruits to be women this year, with 50 percent of its external hires into management also to be women by 2025.

Openreach also plans to retrain more than 3,000 of its existing engineers during the next year – changing their focus from fixing older, copper-based technologies to installing and maintaining faster, more reliable fibre connections.

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Nadine Dorries, recently opened the company’s newest training centre in Thornaby which is the latest of 11 regional training schools – including one in Bolton – it has built and upgraded across the country. Around 25,000 engineers pass through these centres every year across the UK, receiving a combined 180,000 days in training.

More than 3,950 Openreach people already live and work in the North West. Openreach’s full fibre broadband rollout has already reached more than 830,000 local homes and businesses. In January, a further 196,000 were added to the build programme.


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