Openreach today bucked the prevailing economic trend by creating at least 108 new Welsh-based engineering jobs to be filled during 2021, alongside more roles in its supply chain.
The new roles, in places like Denbighshire, Ceredigion, Monmouthshire and Vale of Glamorgan will enable the company to continue improving service levels across its existing networks, while building and connecting customers to its new, ultrafast, ultra-reliable ‘Full Fibre’ broadband network at a record pace.
Across the UK, 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 MJ Quinn who have both been awarded contracts to support Openreach’s full fibre build in Wales. These new roles are in addition to an on-going recruitment drive for desk-based Openreach apprenticeships in Cardiff.
The UK’s largest digital infrastructure firm has separately made a commitment to upgrade all 27,000 Openreach vehicles[i] – the second largest commercial fleet in the UK – to electric by 2030. This will include around 1500 vans across Wales.
The announcement comes as the firm hit a record build rate for its Full Fibre broadband programme – which aims to reach 20 million homes and businesses by the mid-to-late 2020s – on the assumption we obtain the required critical enablers. Openreach engineers are now delivering faster, more reliable connectivity to another 40,000 homes and businesses every week, or the equivalent of a home every 15 seconds.
Full fibre build is already underway across Wales, including Cardiff, Swansea, Barry and around 100 harder to reach locations throughout the country.
Updated research, also published today, by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) suggests that a nationwide Full Fibre broadband network would boost UK productivity by £59 billion by 2025 and enable nearly one million more people to access employment including over 300,000 carers, nearly 250,000 older workers and 400,000 parents.
The pandemic has accelerated changes in working patterns and, with full fibre, nearly two million more people than previously estimated could also 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 country.
Connie Dixon, Openreach’s partnership director for Wales, said:“As a major employer and infrastructure builder, we believe Openreach can play a leading role in helping Wales 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 across our 27,000-strong fleet. We’ll have completely transitioned to EVs by 2030.”