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Openreach

Openreach creates 250 new Welsh jobs after a record year for hiring women engineers

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Openreach has announced it will create and fill around 250 additional jobs across Wales during 2022 – including more than 200 apprenticeships – as it continues to invest billions of pounds into its UK broadband network, people and training.

The new recruits will be based across all parts of Wales including Denbighshire, Flintshire, Gwynedd, Powys, Pembrokeshire, Swansea, Cardiff and Newport working to build and connect customers to the company’s ultrafast Full Fibre broadband network.

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The mammoth build is on track to reach 25 million UK homes and businesses by December 2026 and has already reached more than 425,000 properties in Wales.

The hiring spree – 4,000 new jobs are being created across the UK – is part of the largest recruitment drive in Openreach’s history, which the company says will also help deliver further improvements in customer satisfaction, which is at a record high.

With a workforce of around 2,300 across Wales, 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.

Last year, the company attracted 600 women into trainee engineering roles – more than double the previous year. Around 50 were recruited in Wales. The boost was thanks partly to employing language experts to transform its job adverts and descriptions, making them gender neutral.

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.”

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“We’re rightly recognised as one of the best big companies to work for in Wales 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.

“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 Wales and the rest of the UK, covering millions of rural and urban homes.”

Vaughan Gething, Wales’ Economy Minister, said:“The Welsh Government wants to create a fairer and more prosperous Wales, where nobody is left behind. So I’m delighted Openreach are creating 250 new jobs across Wales, supporting our aim of creating new high-quality jobs in the industries and services of the future.

“I’m also delighted see more than 200 new, high-quality apprenticeships being created, providing invaluable opportunities for people from all sectors of society to start a rewarding career in engineering. This will support our mission of ensuring people are able to make their future here in Wales.”

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The company says its new roles offer a very competitive starting salary and long-term career prospects, but candidates don’t need any formal qualifications to apply. All you need is a driving license, a strong work ethic, great customer service skills and an enthusiasm to work outdoors – Openreach will give you all the equipment and training you need to do the rest.

Alongside its recruitment drive, Openreach has committed to represent ONS measured levels of ethnic diversity3 across the UK and is aiming for at least 20 percent of its trainee engineer recruits to be women this year, with 50 percent of its external hires into management also to be women by 2025. 

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. Last year, Openreach’s National Learning Centre for Wales in Newport was officially opened by the First Minister for Wales, Mark Drakeford and expects to train up to 6,000 new and existing Openreach engineers from across Wales, as well as further afield, during a typical year. 

(Lead image: Openreach)

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Gowerton

Three Swansea communities set to benefit as part of £25m full fibre broadband investment

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Broadband network provider Openreach is set to invest £25m in the roll-out of full-fibre broadband to 9 more Welsh communities – three of those in Swansea.

When work is complete, the majority of premises in Sketty, Gowerton, Ravenhill, Culverhouse, Llanrumney, Llanedeyrn, Cwmbran, Risca and Maindee will be able to contact their broadband provider and upgrade to full fibre broadband.

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Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters MS said: “The impact of fast, affordable broadband for homes and businesses across Wales cannot be underestimated, supporting a thriving and sustainable vision for our future. Openreach is helping to realise faster speeds, greater access and better support for places that have previously found it harder to connect.”

“This news is especially important at the moment with so many people working from home where a reliable broadband connection is vital”.

Connie Dixon, Openreach’s regional director for Wales, said: “Nobody in Wales or the UK is building full fibre faster, further or at a higher quality than Openreach. We’re reaching more communities than ever and our team of highly-skilled local engineers, alongside our build partners, are working hard to deliver some of the fastest and most reliable broadband available anywhere in Europe.”

“In 2021 our engineers built around 770 metres of new broadband cables every minute – making Ultrafast broadband available to another home every 13 seconds. We’ve already reached six million homes and businesses across the UK with ultrafast full fibre technology including more than 425,000 in Wales but we know there’s more to do and we’re committed to doing it.”

Full fibre broadband is up to ten times faster than the average home broadband connection and around five times more reliable than the traditional copper-based network, providing more predictable, consistent speeds.  

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Across Wales more than 100,000 homes and businesses have already ordered a full fibre service from a range of retail service providers using the Openreach network. But this means that thousands more could be benefiting from some of the fastest, most reliable broadband connections in Europe and have yet to upgrade.

Recent research by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) highlighted the clear economic benefits of connecting everyone in Wales to full fibre. It estimated this would create a £2 billion boost to the Welsh economy.

Openreach say their engineers have been working hard to make the technology available to as many people as possible throughout the UK and the company’s plans are fundamental to the UK Government achieving its target of delivering ‘gigabit capable’ broadband to 85 per cent of UK by 2025.

The company say they will invest billions of pounds to reach a total of 25 million premises by the end of December 2026, including more than six million in the hardest-to-serve parts of the country defined by industry regulator Ofcom.

(Lead image: Openreach)

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Briton Ferry

£30 million ultrafast broadband boost for south Wales

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More than 87,000 additional homes and businesses across south Wales are a step closer to a major broadband boost thanks to a £30million investment by Openreach.

People living and working in communities across south Wales are due to be upgraded following the company’s latest build announcement, with a new, ultrafast, ultra-reliable ‘full fibre’ broadband network being built to most premises in Bridgend, Port Talbot, Neath, Gorseinon, Skewen, Briton Ferry and Seven Sisters.

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More than 87,000 additional homes and businesses across south Wales are a step closer to a major broadband boost thanks to a £30million investment by Openreach – the UK’s largest digital network provider, used by more than 660 service providers including the likes of BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone and Zen.

The news comes as the digital network provider announces it has already reached more than 6 million homes and businesses across the UK with Ultrafast Full Fibre, including around 400,000 properties in Wales.

The latest plans are a further boost for Wales as they follow news earlier this year that hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses would be getting access to Openreach’s new network, including tens of thousands in rural and harder to serve areas of the country including Abersoch, Bethesda, Borth, Cardigan, Nefyn, Nelson, Narberth, Llantwit Major & Kidwelly.

Welcoming the announcement Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters said: “The importance of fast reliable broadband has become even more apparent utility and we welcome this investment as a key part of the market effort to boost connections across South Wales”.

Connie DixonOpenreach’s regional director for Wales, said: “Good connectivity is vital – whether it’s to work from home, access education and care services, or for gaming and streaming entertainment – and that’s why we’re investing across the UK to upgrade our network to 25 million premises.”

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“Nobody’s building faster, further or to a higher standard across Wales and the rest of the UK than Openreach, and we’ve already reached six million homes and businesses with ultrafast full fibre technology, including around 400,000. It’s proving popular as well, with around 23% already choosing to start using it.

Our engineers and build partners are reaching more communities every week and we’re not just building in cities and urban areas. Many rural and hard to reach communities are already benefitting and we plan to reach many more in the coming months and years.”

Across the UK, more than one 1.3 million homes and businesses have already ordered a full fibre service from a range of retail service providers using the Openreach network. But this means millions are yet to start benefiting from some of the fastest, most reliable broadband connections in the world and have yet to upgrade.

Recent research by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) highlighted the clear economic benefits of connecting everyone in Wales to full fibre. It estimated this would create a £2 billion boost to the local economy.

Openreach engineers have been working hard to make the technology available to as many people as possible throughout the UK – at times reaching 47,000 premises a week – and work will continue between now and 2026

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The company’s plans are fundamental to the UK Government achieving its target of delivering ‘gigabit capable’ broadband to 85 per cent of UK by 2025. The company plans to reach a total of 25 million premises by the end of December 2026, including more than six million in the hardest-to-serve parts of the country defined by industry regulator Ofcom.

(Lead image: Openreach)

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Openreach

Ultrafast broadband is a ‘game-changer’ for Nolton Haven residents

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Stephen Crabb MP has been out meeting Openreach engineers who are currently installing the next generation of broadband technology up and down Pembrokeshire.

During his tour the MP for Preseli and Pembrokeshire saw a full fibre network which has been built directly from the exchange in Haverfordwest to serve properties in the surrounding areas – including the picturesque seaside village of Nolton Haven.

Residents of Nolton Haven can now enjoy some of the fastest and most reliable broadband speeds in Europe thanks to Openreach’s ultrafast, ultra-reliable full fibre broadband network.

With the fibre now being run directly from the exchange to their property, customers can potentially get speeds of up to one Gigabit per second (1Gbps), which dwarfs their previous speeds of around 1-2 Megabits per second (Mbps).

Speaking during his tour with Openreach engineers, Stephen Crabb MP said: “The pandemic has shown how important high quality broadband has become in all of our lives – especially for those of us living and working in rural communities across Pembrokeshire.

“Openreach engineers have been going to extraordinary lengths to ensure as many homes and businesses as possible in Pembrokeshire are getting access to ultrafast fibre broadband and it’s making such a huge difference to communities such as Nolton Haven.”

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Stephen Crabb MP on a recent tour of Haverfordwest’s new fibre exchange (Image: Openreach)

Nolton Haven resident David Canton runs a popular holiday cottage business in the village and has experienced first-hand the significant impact that ultrafast broadband can have on both family and business.

He said: “Having ultrafast broadband is completely life-changing.

“During the pandemic my children were able to learn from home and my wife, who’s a teacher, could teach children using technology that simply wasn’t possible before we had full fibre broadband.

“From a business perspective we can now extend our holiday season and guests can take a break but still work from our cottages and enjoy our beautiful views. It’s a game-changer.”

(Lead image: Openreach)

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