Openreach to create at least 275 Scotland-based engineering jobs in new year

Openreach, the digital network business spun out of BT, today pledged to create at least 275 Scotland-based engineering jobs during the year ahead.

Openreach already employs more than 34,500 people, including some 25,000 engineers who build, maintain and connect customers to its nationwide broadband network. Picture, taken pre-Covid, by Les Gibbon
Openreach already employs more than 34,500 people, including some 25,000 engineers who build, maintain and connect customers to its nationwide broadband network. Picture, taken pre-Covid, by Les Gibbon

The firm said the new roles would be in locations across the country as it continues to roll out a high-speed fibre broadband network. The engineering posts will be filled during 2021, alongside more roles in the supply chain.

Across the UK, some 5,300 jobs are being created, including more than 2,500 full-time jobs in Openreach’s own service and “network build” divisions, as well as an estimated 2,800 positions in its UK supply chain, through partners such as KN Circet and Morrison Telecom Services. Both firms have both been awarded contracts to support the full-fibre build in Scotland.

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Separately, the firm has made a commitment to upgrade all 27,000 Openreach vehicles – the second largest commercial fleet in the UK, with 3,500 in Scotland – to electric by 2030.

The announcement comes as the firm hailed a record build rate for its full-fibre broadband programme, which aims to reach 20 million homes and businesses across the UK by the mid-to-late 2020s.

The build is already under way in dozens of locations across Scotland, including Aberdeen, Ardrossan, Edinburgh, greater Glasgow, Kilmarnock, Lanark and Penicuik.

Bosses said the pandemic had accelerated changes in the working patterns of millions of people.

High-speed internet access means that two million more people than previously estimated could choose to work from home in the long term, reducing transport and housing pressures in big cities and boosting local and rural economies across the UK, the firm noted.

Robert Thorburn, Openreach Scotland partnership director, said: “As a major employer and infrastructure builder, we believe Openreach can play a leading role in helping Scotland to build back better and greener.

“Our full-fibre network build is going faster than ever and we’re now looking for people across the country to build a career with Openreach and help us upgrade broadband connections and continue improving service levels. We’re also investing in our supply chain, which will support the creation of thousands more jobs all over the UK.

“We know the network we’re building can deliver a host of green benefits – from consuming less power to enabling more home working and fewer commuting trips – and we’re going to take that a step further, by committing to build and maintain that network using state-of-the-art electric vehicles {EVs] across our 3,500-strong Scottish fleet. We’ll have completely transitioned to EVs by 2030.”

The company already employs more than 34,500 people, including some 25,000 engineers who build, maintain and connect customers to its nationwide broadband network. Of these, about 3,200 live and/or work in Scotland.

The firm recently named a new chairman to lead its Scottish board from the end of March.

Katie Milligan will lead the group’s Scotland board when current chair and industry veteran Brendan Dick retires. Milligan, who hails from Ardrossan in Ayrshire, is already head of customer, commercial and propositions at Openreach.

Dick joined BT in 1980. Prior to joining Openreach to chair the Scotland board in 2018, he was BT Group director in Scotland and MD of BT UK Nations & Regions.

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