Openreach announces 500 new jobs after record year for recruiting women including Scotland football player

Openreach has announced it will create and fill around 500 more Scottish jobs during 2022, including around 390 apprenticeships, as it continues to invest billions of pounds into its UK broadband network, people and training.

The mammoth build is on track to reach 25 million UK homes and businesses by December 2026 and has already reached more than half a million properties in Scotland.

The hiring spree is part of a wider recruitment drive which will see the creation of 4,000 new jobs across the UK and is the largest in Openreach’s history – its workforce now tops 3,700 across Scotland.

Openreach already employs the nation’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.

The new recruits will be based in various locations across Scotland working to build and connect customers to the company’s ultrafast, ultra-reliable Full Fiber broadband network.

Locations and number of posts to fill in Scotland

  • Fife-65
  • Ayrshire – 65
  • Edinburgh – 55
  • Glaswegian – 55
  • Angus-40
  • Dundee-40
  • Highlands-40
  • Stirling – 30
  • Scottish Borders – 30

Last year, 17 per cent of the company’s intake of trainee engineers in Scotland were female, more than triple the previous year.

Openreach said the boost was thanks in part to employing language experts to transform its job adverts and descriptions, making them gender neutral.

Alana Marshall, 34, from Dunfermline in Fife was a dog walker before deciding on a change of career. Also a semi-professional footballer, she currently plays for Spartans and has been capped for Scotland six times.

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Alana said: “I’ve always been interested in engineering and wanted to have a good job for my daughter. I really love getting my hands dirty and with this job you certainly do. I never have two days the same and haven’t come across anything I don’t like so far.

“I’ve had positive customer reactions. I know I’ll come across some challenges in the future – I’m used to it with playing football. I’d tell other women considering engineering to go for it, never have any doubt that you can’t or shouldn’t be doing a job like this. We are just as capable.”

Semi-pro footballer Alana Marshall
Semi-pro footballer Alana Marshall

Natasha Carswell, 30, from Carnwath, Lanark, joined Openreach last year after a career as a hairdresser. She said: “During the pandemic I lost my dad, which made me decide to take life into my own hands and make it a little more exciting. I want to do something that excites me and is different every day.

“People do get surprised to see a female engineer at the door. I absolutely love when I have a senior customer and doing one extra wee thing, like helping them set up the phone, can make their day and leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling .”

Natasha Carswell
Natasha Carswell

Clive Selley, CEO, Openreach, said: “Openreach is 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 , over 800 of them across Scotland.

“We’re rightly recognized as one of the best big companies to work for, and we’re determined to stay that way, so we’ve been building state of the art training schools where we can teach people the skills and techniques they need for long, exciting and rewarding careers in engineering.”

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He continued: “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.

“These new recruits will play a crucial role as we continue to improve services for our customers and build the biggest and best broadband network in Scotland.”

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Scottish Government Employment Minister Richard Lochhead said: “Accessing fast and reliable broadband has never been so important. Building on the early success of our Young Person’s Guarantee and our ongoing significant investment in education, employability and skills, these additional 500 high quality jobs being created by Openreach will increase opportunities across Scotland.

“Apprenticeships are a key way for all employers to continue to invest in their workforce, providing core skills the economy needs now and in the future. This is central to the Scottish Government’s immediate priority to lead the country through the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic into a recovery that protects and creates jobs and backs our young people.”

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The new trainee apprenticeship roles come with a starting salary of £21,845 and recruits can be earning up to £28,353 following 12 months of specialist training to achieve an NVQ level 2/SCQF Level 5 in one of Openreach’s world class training centres.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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