Openreach to create thousands of jobs and apprenticeships this year

Openreach is to create 4,000 jobs this year, including 3,000 apprenticeships, at various locations around the UK

BROADBAND giant Openreach says it plans to create 4,000 jobs at various locations across the UK this year, including 3,000 apprenticeships.

The move is part of its investment in connecting customers to ultrafast full-fibre broadband, set to reach 25 million homes and businesses by the end of 2026.

And Openreach said it was committed to building a more diverse workforce in an industry traditionally seen as dominated by white men.

Last year, the company recruited 600 women into trainee engineering roles, more than double the previous year, after employing language experts to make sure job adverts were gender neutral.

Just before ChristmasOpenreach confirmed connected its 100,000th customer to full fibre broadband in Northern Ireland, where it has invested £130 million over the last two years.

Clive Selley, chief executive of Openreach, said: "We are 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."

Andy Kerr, Communication Workers Union deputy general secretary, said: "We have worked with the company to ensure that all those employed will have access not only to good quality jobs on appointment but career structures in the future.

"The transition to fibre continues to create fantastic opportunities for existing employees as well these new recruits.

"The CWU has championed the diversity and inclusion agenda seeking to ensure a more diverse workforce reflective of our communities and welcome the company's commitment to this."

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