Openreach today said it will hire 3,000 new apprentice engineers across the UK to support its rollout of full-fibre broadband.
The roles, just over half of which are newly-created, will be filled over the next 12 months and are an extension of a huge recruitment drive as the telecoms firm looks to build its new high-speed network.
Openreach also said 11 new locations, including Croydon, Harrow and Richmond, have been earmarked for full-fibre developments this year.
Amber Rudd, secretary of state for work and pensions, said: “This is a huge expansion in highly-skilled, well-paying jobs across the UK and yet another demonstration of the jobs success we have seen since 2010.
“And it is also good news that these are some new training roles, developing the skills of our workforce.”
Rudd, who was speaking at the opening of the firm’s new training school in Peterborough, also highlighted the growing number of women entering the sector.
Openreach said it is on track to meet its commitment of providing full-fibre to three million homes and businesses by the end of 2020, with further plans to extend the technology to 10m premises.
Openreach chief executive Clive Selley said: “Openreach is a people business and our new apprentices will enable us to fulfil our commitments, with an ultimate ambition to deliver the best possible connectivity to everyone, everywhere, equally, across the entire country.”
The announcement comes amid concerns Openreach’s domination of the broadband sector could impact competition.
In December rival broadband providers Cityfibre, Hyperoptic and Gigaclear wrote to the government and Ofcom calling for protection against “predatory overbuild” by Openreach.
Openreach said it is highly regulated and works closely with Ofcom and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to ensure transparency.
The government has laid out plans to connect 15m premises to the new network by 2025, with full coverage across the UK by 2033.