BT To Recruit 1,600 Engineers, Targets Armed Forces And Women

BT is to recruit 1,600 new engineers as part of its ongoing fibre deployment across the UK, with many of its new recruits expected to be former members of the armed forces and, hopefully, women.

The company says the new engineers will help Openreach install new fibre lines and fix faults more quickly as it seeks to increase the reliability of its superfast broadband service as users become more demanding. As part of this drive, BT has also pledged to improve its customer service transparency by publishing regular reports on its website to show how it is delivering against its service targets, starting this summer.

Ofcom has told BT that it must reduce repair 80 percent of faults within two working days or complete new installations over a 12 month period or it will face sanctions, including possible fines.

BT Openreach engineers

“Millions of customers depend on broadband and they rely on us to keep them connected, whatever the weather. Our engineers do an incredible job,” says Joe Garner, CEO of BT Openreach. “They have been rolling out fibre broadband faster than anywhere else in the world, and at the same time completing hundreds of thousands of jobs each week to keep people connected throughout the UK – an amazing achievement.

“These new recruits will be a welcome boost to that effort, joining an already world class team. We want to attract the best in the country to a career in engineering. “

BT says it expects a significant number of the engineering roles to be taken up by ex-service men and women, continuing its long-standing relationship with the UK Armed forces. The company worked with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) during previous recruitment drives, with many to come from the Civilian Work Attachment Scheme, which aims with the transition from military to civilian employment.

Female recruitment drive

However it now also keen to get as many female engineers as possible and has launched a campaign to encourage women to enter the field.

“We are also keen to recruit women – as I’m keen to dispel the myth that being an engineer is an exclusively male vocation,” adds Garner. “In fact we have many successful women engineers and it is my personal belief that recruiting more will also help our customer service agenda. Being an Openreach engineer is a terrific job and a rewarding career, regardless of your background, or gender.”

Prime Minister David Cameron welcomes the creation of the new jobs, saying they will help the economy.

“Supporting business, creating jobs and providing a better future for hardworking people is a crucial part of our long-term economic plan,” he says. “So I am delighted that BT is launching this major recruitment drive for 1,600 engineers across the UK, providing financial security for families and delivering a world class infrastructure for Britain.”

The Openreach fibre network now reaches 19 million homes and businesses covering two thirds of the UK population. The network is available to all UK ISPs on a wholesale basis and comprises BT’s commercial rollout as well as areas covered by the £530 million government-funded Broadband Delivery UK initiative.

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Steve McCaskill

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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