VIDEO | BT Openreach is using virtual reality to recruit 170 new trainees
BT is using virtual reality to recruit 170 trainee engineers in the South West in a bid to repair faults more quickly and roll out superfast broadband to more homes.
Openreach, which is part of the BT group, is seeking a batch of new recruits from across the region to fill the new, full-time and permanent roles to extend its fibre broadband network, improve customer service and keep the South West connected.
The firm said its trainees, more than 20 of whom will be recruited in Cornwall, will be able to try the job before they apply, climb telephone poles and even repair fibre optic cables – but only virtually.
Potential candidates will be able to discover exactly what life as a field engineer involves, with the help of virtual reality (VR).
Openreach said VR will allow applicants to immerse themselves into the role of telecom engineers through immersive 3D.
Kevin Brady, human resources director for Openreach, said: “Everyone wonders what it might be like to work for a company when they apply for a job, but we’re giving people the ability to physically see it and experience it for themselves.
“We get people from all walks of life applying for roles at Openreach and an increasing number of women wanting to be engineers, which is fantastic. Becoming an engineer can be a very rewarding career choice, and of course some aspects of the job are both mentally and physically challenging.
“We know, for example, that climbing a pole for the first time can be daunting for new recruits, and that’s why we wanted to give people a real insight into what’s involved. Hopefully it will help them to make a more informed decision when they come to apply.”
Openreach is particularly looking to recruit new trainees from the Truro, St Austell, Penzance, Falmouth, Newquay and Wadebridge areas.
The company said the successful new trainees will be paid a £20,000 starting salary. On completion of a successful first year this will increase to £22,933 plus a 10% on-target bonus leading to on target earnings of £25,226.
Openreach employs about 32,000 people across the UK and its most recently reported financial results show revenues of £5.1billion for the year ended March 2016.
The training wills see applicants embark on a tailored 12 month accredited learning programme – including on-the-job experience and culminating with the attainment of an externally recognised qualification for IT, software and telecoms professionals.
Openreach chief executive, Clive Selley, said: “Improving customer service is our number one priority so we’re investing in our people to make sure we deliver.
“Our customers need us to install new lines and repair our network faster than ever, and by increasing the number of people working on proactive network maintenance, we can fix more issues before people even notice them.
“We are also continuing to roll out superfast broadband services at scale and making big investments in our network to make ultrafast broadband available to up to 12million homes by the end of 2020.
“We want to recruit the very best people to help us on that journey and our new trainee engineering roles will offer people the hands on experience they need to succeed.”
Across the UK Openreach has hired 5,000 engineers and more than 900 apprentices and graduates over the last four years.
Emma Howarth, Openreach’s programme director for network delivery in the South West, said: “The trainee engineers will be playing a vital part in the future success and prosperity of our region.
“High-speed communications have never been more important for local households and businesses – and will become even more important in the years ahead.”