LONDON (Reuters) – BT’s <BT.L> networks unit Openreach is recruiting another 3,000 apprentice engineers to support the roll-out of ultra-fast fibre-to-the-home broadband to 3 million homes and businesses by the end of 2020.
The new jobs — about 1,600 of which will be new roles — are an extension of the British company’s largest-ever recruitment drive to hire 6,500 apprentice engineers this year and next, it said on Monday.
Openreach, which is wholly owned by BT, manages Britain’s largest broadband network, with infrastructure used by broadband providers such as Sky, TalkTalk <TALK.L> and Vodafone <VOD.L> as well as BT.
The company adopted a new “fibre first” strategy last year that prioritised the ultra-fast connections demanded by British residents and businesses.
Previously it had largely focused on fibre-copper technology, which offered different speeds depending on distance from the full-fibre network.
Openreach also announced on Monday the 11 new cities and towns where it would build fibre networks this year, including Bury, Greater Glasgow region, and Salford, bringing the total number of locations to 25.
The new jobs were announced as Secretary of State for Work and pensions Amber Rudd was due to open the company’s new training school in Peterborough.
“This is a huge expansion in high-skilled, well-paying jobs across the UK and yet another demonstration of the jobs success we have seen since 2010,” she will say at the opening, according to excerpts of her speech.
(Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Catherine Evans)