Openreach embraces virtual reality to hire 1,500 trainee engineers

Openreach has announced a major expansion of its engineering workforce with plans to recruit 1,500 trainees as part of its drive to improve customer service and invest in the operation of its network.
Engineer with VR equipment

Over the next eight months, we’ll be seeking recruits from across the country to fill the new, full-time and permanent roles which are focussed on extending our fibre broadband network, improving customer service and keeping Britain connected.

In a ground-breaking approach to recruitment, potential candidates will be able to discover exactly what life as a field engineer involves, with the help of virtual reality (VR). We're trialling a VR experience which enables interested applicants to don a headset and experience climbing a telephone pole or exploring the local exchange building in immersive 3D, from the perspective of a real engineer.

It is expected that an initial intake of 119 recruits will join the company in April, followed by around 60 new recruits joining each week through to mid-October. New trainees will 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.

Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Karen Bradley said: "The Government's £1.7 bn rollout programme has helped take superfast broadband to more than nine out of ten homes and businesses in the UK and we are reaching thousands more every week.

"Openreach engineers have played a pivotal role in helping deliver this, and these 1,500 new recruits will be a fantastic addition to our thriving digital economy."

The 360 degree videos are available to watch on our YouTube channel and can be viewed on any PC, tablet or VR headset. Videos include an engineer’s eye view from the top of a telephone pole, a virtual tour of a telephone exchange and a look inside a green roadside cabinet.

We also intend to trial them in-person with potential applicants at recruitment roadshows and events throughout the year.
The business remains keen to further increase diversity in the workforce, including the recruitment of more female engineers. We recently joined forces with other technology firms to create a new mentoring scheme – Step into STEM – which encourages schoolgirls to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics careers.

We've hired 5,000 engineers and more than 900 apprentices and graduates over the last four years.

Find out moreLink to the trainee engineer scheme about our Trainee Engineer Scheme.