Openreach is hiring 1,500 trainee engineers and trialling a new virtual reality experience

Courtney Goldsmith
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The broadband provider will use virtual reality to give candidates a glimpse of life on the job
The broadband provider will use virtual reality to give candidates a glimpse of life on the job (Source: Openreach)

Openreach is set to expand its workforce with 1,500 new trainee engineers hired over eight months who will work to extend the UK's fibre broadband network and improve customer service.

The broadband provider will seek recruits from across Britain to fill new, full-time and permanent roles.

Openreach will initially take on 119 recruits in April, followed by around 60 new recruits who will join each week through to mid-October.

Chief executive Clive Selley said improving customer service is the firm's number one priority. "We're investing in our people to make sure we deliver."

Selley added:

Our customers need us to install new lines and repair our network faster than ever, and by increasing the number of people working on proactive network maintenance, we can fix more issues before people even notice them.

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The firm is working to make ultrafast broadband services available to up to 12m homes by the end of 2020.

Karen Bradley, secretary of state for culture, media and sport, said: "The government's £1.7bn rollout programme has helped take superfast broadband to more than nine out of ten homes and businesses in the UK, and we are reaching thousands more every week.

"Openreach engineers have played a pivotal role in helping deliver this, and these 1,500 new recruits will be a fantastic addition to our thriving digital economy."

In the spring Budget, the government pledged to set aside £200m to fund local projects implementing fibre broadband in every part of the country. A further £400m will fund a new Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund to go towards deploying full-fibre broadband.

New trainees will gain an externally recognised qualification for IT, software and telecoms professionals after the 12-month programme with Openreach.

Before they sign up, applicants will be shown a realistic view of life as a field engineer as Openreach trials a new virtual reality (VR) experience. The new technology will give candidates the opportunity to get a feel for the role as they virtually trial challenging tasks like climbing a telephone pole.

“Everyone wonders what it might be like to work for a company when they apply for a job, but we’re giving people the ability to physically see it and experience it for themselves," said Kevin Brady, HR director for Openreach.

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