BT has announced plans to boost its army of frontline engineers in Scotland by taking on another 112 recruits, including roles in the Western Isles.
They’ll join Openreach, BT’s local network business, to install new lines, fix faults and help bring high-speed fibre broadband to homes and businesses across the country.
The company is looking for engineers in locations spread across the whole of Scotland, from Orkney and Oban to Greenock and Galashiels, with a third of the posts based in the Highlands and Islands and North East Scotland.
Fraser Rowberry, general manager of Openreach in Scotland, said: “Millions of Scots depend on our services and rely on us to keep them connected. Across the UK, we plan to recruit around 500 more frontline engineers this year, as well as apprentices and graduates. I’m delighted such a high proportion of this recruitment will be in Scotland.
“Our engineers are passing another 5,000 Scottish premises a week with fibre broadband at the same time as completing 12,000 jobs a week to install new lines, repair faults and keep people and businesses connected. Customer service is a key focus for us.
“We passed or bettered the minimum service standards set by Ofcom for the last year but of course we are determined to do even better. As demand for our services grows, from household fibre to high speed lines for the business community, our new recruits will be a welcome boost. They’ll also be in place ahead of any severe weather impact this winter.
“They will help to keep Openreach at the forefront of connecting Scotland now and for the future, helping it to be a great place to live and do business.”
Openreach has a workforce of around 2,800 in Scotland, mostly frontline engineers, looking after a national network including some 2.3 million lines.
BT is also investing £126 million in the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband fibre rollout, led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise in that region and the Scottish Government in the rest of Scotland, in addition to its commercial upgrades, with Openreach delivering the projects on the ground.
Fraser added: “We’re looking for people who can connect with customers, enjoy being out and about and are willing to get stuck in. They’ll help build and maintain our network infrastructure and deliver fibre products and services into homes and offices. These are high quality posts which offer engineers the chance of a fantastic career in a fast-paced, constantly evolving industry regardless of their background or gender.”
Openreach is particularly keen to attract more women into the workforce, supporting the Scottish Government’s aspiration to encourage greater female participation in ICT and digital technology roles. National Women in Engineering Day takes place across the UK today (Tuesday June 23), aiming to raise the profile and celebrate the achievements of women in engineering.
Fiona MacDonald is a customer service engineer based on Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides. She joined Openreach in 2007, having previously worked for the Ministry of Defence in the Western Isles in a desk-based safety role and completing Open University courses in data computing and information technology.
She covers a wide area stretching 70 miles from Berneray at the tip of North Uist to Eriskay below South Uist and over to Barra, driving her van along single track roads, crossing causeways and taking ferries to reach customers.
A multi-skilled engineer who can turn her hand to any task from finding faults and installing broadband to joining up underground cables and laying out cables – work often done by specialists on the mainland – she has also travelled around Scotland working in places like the Scottish Borders, Inverness and Dundee.
Fiona said: “I thought there was no way I’d get the job with Openreach but they saw something in me. Three of us from the Western Isles were put through a period of intense training before buddying up with experienced colleagues for the first few weeks. It was daunting but very interesting learning new things.
“I’d worked with Army personnel in the past and have five brothers, so working in a male-dominated environment really wasn’t an issue. My new colleagues thought they’d have to mind their Ps and Qs, but they soon found they had nothing to worry about. A good sense of humour and a thick skin definitely help!
“The best bit of the job is finding an answer to a problem, fixing a line and making sure when you leave that customer they are not going to have to see you again. People just want to have a really good service and that’s what I want to give them.”
A keen runner who has just completed the Heb 3 challenge – three half marathons on three islands – Fiona added: “It’s also great being out and about – I’ve seen more of my own island in the last nine years than I ever would have done otherwise. I would say to someone who is thinking of joining us, definitely go for it – you’ll meet new people and have new experiences every day and it beats sitting about at a desk!”
Recruitment for the new roles is open now and people interested in applying for the posts should visit http://www.btplc.com/Careercentre/Ourlocations/UK/Openreach/index.htm Full training will be provided to successful applicants, where required, at locations including Openreach’s national training school in Livingston, West Lothian.