Openreach creates more than 400 new South West jobs after record year for hiring women engineers

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Openreach has said it will create more than 400 more jobs in the South West during 2022 – nearly 300 of them apprenticeships – as it continues to invest in its UK broadband network, people and training.

The new recruits will be based in every county across the region, connecting customers to the company’s ultrafast Full Fibre broadband network. The mammoth build is on track to reach 25 million UK homes and businesses by December 2026 and has already reached nearly 600,000 properties in the South West. The hiring spree is part of the largest recruitment drive in Openreach’s history.

With a workforce of 3,500 across the South West, Openreach already employs the UK’s largest team of telecoms engineers and professionals and has committed to building a more diverse and inclusive team in an industry that’s traditionally been very white, male-dominated.

Last year, the company attracted 600 women into trainee engineering roles – more than double the previous year.  The boost was thanks partly to employing language experts from Exeter University to transform its job adverts and descriptions, making them gender neutral.

Clive Selley, CEO, Openreach, said: “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.

The new roles offer a very competitive starting salary and long-term career prospects, but candidates don’t need any formal qualifications to apply. All that’s needed is a driving license, a strong work ethic and an enthusiasm to work outdoors.

Openreach also plans to retrain more than 3,000 of its existing engineers during the next year – changing their focus from fixing older, copper-based technologies to installing and maintaining faster, more reliable fibre connections.