Published: 10:44, 28 January 2019
| Updated: 11:16, 28 January 2019
Hundreds of trainee engineers jobs are to be created across the south of England - with some 75 in Kent.
It comes as part of a major recruitment drive by broadband infrastructure firm Openreach.
In total, some 456 trainees will be hired across Kent, Berkshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Sussex, Surrey and Buckinghamshire.
Recruits will join Openreach's team working to expand, upgrade, maintain and install services over its national broadband network.
Clive Selley, chief executive of Openreach, said: “Openreach is ambitious for the UK and is determined to build full fibre as quickly as possible to ensure the country has a reliable broadband network capable of supporting future data-hungry services and applications essential for boosting productivity and sustaining our position as a leading digital economy.
“We’re making great progress towards reaching our target of upgrading three million homes and businesses to full fibre by the end of 2020 – reaching another 13,000 premises per week – and these new south of England recruits will play a crucial role in that programme. Openreach is a people business and our new apprentices will enable us to fulfil our commitments, with an ultimate ambition to deliver the best possible connectivity to everyone, everywhere, equally, across the entire country.”
Across the UK, more than 3,000 trainee engineers are being recruited.
For the first time, Openreach also plans to publish details on its website detailing its build plans for the next 12 months, including the total number of exchange areas to be reached in each location. The company will update this information every three months.
David Jordan, Openreach’s director for the south of England, said: “We want people from all walks of life to apply for roles at Openreach, to build a diverse workforce that reflects the hugely diverse communities we serve. Last year we successfully recruited more women than ever before – and this year we want to go even further.
“Becoming an engineer can be an incredibly rewarding career, and we’re constantly improving our training and recruitment programmes, providing recognised qualifications, to make sure we attract and keep the best in the business.
"We’re investing heavily in upskilling our people, so they can now do more for customers in a single visit and we recently launched new career pathways to give our engineers a clear sense of the skills, accountabilities and experience they need to get where they want to be.”