Openreach UK, the infrastructure division of BT, is to hire 3,500 trainee fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) engineers over the next year.
According to Kevin Brady, Openreach's HR director, the recruitment plans are the company's "most ambitious ever". The business had filled 1800 new roles last year.
The new engineers will help the company to make 1Gbps-ready FTTH broadband available to three million premises by 2020. The first phase of the project will be to hook up homes and businesses in eight major UK cities to gigabit speeds. These cities are: Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester.
Brady said that depending on the "right investment conditions in place", Openreach will then look to expand its full fibre network in up to 40 towns, cities and boroughs, with the aim of reaching ten million UK homes and businesses by the mid-2020s.
He suggested that the 3,500 new recruits would become part of "an army of high skilled digital infrastructure engineers ready to deploy these new technologies in homes and businesses across the nation".
The 3,500 roles will be split across Openreach's ten service delivery regions, with London (505), East Anglia (444) and Scotland (400) receiving the highest proportion of new hires.
"It's great news that Openreach is creating 3,500 new permanent jobs rolling out full fibre broadband," said Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond.
"This digital infrastructure will be welcomed by families and business across the country, and these new highly skilled jobs will be a boost to our talented workforce as we build an economy fit for the future," he added.
"I'm confident that our twin investment in people and infrastructure will help the UK achieve the societal and economic benefits that come from better, more reliable, faster broadband services," said Openreach CEO Clive Selly.
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