Government welcomes new BT fibre recruitment drive aimed at soldiers and long term unemployed
BT is to create 1,000 engineering jobs as part of its ongoing £2.5 billion investment in the roll out of fibre in the UK.
The roles will be filled by a combination of apprenticeships, former armed forces personnel and other candidates, including some long-term unemployed. The recruitment drive will bring the number of people working on BT’s fibre roll-out to 6,000.
Prime Minister David Cameron has welcomed the development, which he says will help the government achieve its aim of having the best superfast broadband in Europe by 2015.
“I warmly welcome the announcement from BT today,” said Cameron. “Providing much faster broadband speeds, and enabling millions more homes and businesses to enjoy these speeds is vital for driving investment and equipping the UK to compete and thrive in the global race.”
BT says that 400 of the jobs will be offered as apprenticeships, lasting two and a half years. For the first year, the focus will be on installing fibre connections in customer homes before learning the full range of engineering tasks during the remainder of the training course.
Apprentices will also complete academic studies in Maths, English and ICT and will achieve a BTEC Level 3 Diploma and Certificate in ICT Systems and Principles. It is expected that applications will be competitive as 18,500 candidates have applied for just 460 similar roles in the past year.
BT will work with the Ministry of Defence and the Career Transition Partnership to attract 200 people due to leave the armed forces, while the remaining 400 positions will be filled through other routes. The company has previously looked towards the military during its previous recruitment drives.
BT fibre rollout
“BT’s investment, together with the government’s BDUK programme, will cement the UK’s position as one of the leading broadband
nations in Europe,” said BT chief executive Ian Livingston. “We remain highly confident that fibre can be provided to more than 90 per cent of UK homes and businesses, making the UK a global digital leader.”
BT recently announced that it was adding 99 more exchanges and a further 1.2 million premises to its network as part of its investment. The rollout comprises a mixture of Fibre To The Cabinet (FTTC), which offers download speeds of up to 80Mbps and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps, and Fibre To the Premises (FTTP) technologies.
Around 1,700 exchange areas in the UK will make up its fibre footprint and the company is now beginning to identify additional exchanges under the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) initiative, which provides government funding for the rollout of fibre in areas where it is not commercially viable to do so.