Robert Buckland, secretary of state for Wales, has visited Openreach’s National Learning Centre for Wales to see the training of new employees delivering ultrafast broadband to Wales.
The multi-million pound learning facility in Newport allows both trainee and current Openreach engineers the chance to learn the ropes and test new abilities in a replica street constructed from the ground up to replicate the actual network outside.
Openreach’s construction of ultrafast Full-Fibre networks across Wales and the rest of the United Kingdom has increased significantly over the last several years, necessitating a significant increase in recruitment. Its learning centre in Newport is crucial to achieving the company’s goal of reaching 25 million UK households and companies by December 2026.
Approximately 160 Openreach apprentices of different ages are now undergoing training in Wales, with the average age of the learners being 31. During his tour of the facility, the Secretary of State for Wales met many apprentices who chose to become engineers later in life, including Mariaisabel Fernandez from Cardiff.
After many years as an Emergency Ambulance Technician for the Welsh Ambulance Service, Mariaisabel just completed her apprenticeship training and began working for Openreach. Mariaisabel opted to work at Openreach because she desired a career move that would enable her to work outside and give her with many opportunities to grow and develop.
Mariaisabel Fernandez said:
“I’d been considering a career change for a while but couldn’t quite put my finger on what I wanted to do. I heard through friends that Openreach was a good employer and were looking to recruit more female engineers so I did some research to see the type of work that they did.
“The more I looked into it the more I thought that being an Openreach engineer was the right thing for me.
“The training that’s available in Newport is second-to-none.”
Secretary of State for Wales, Sir Robert Buckland, said:
“We all know how important fast reliable broadband connections are.
“It’s been great to see the investment Openreach is putting into its Full Fibre infrastructure and the training and development of both recruits and existing engineers.
“It’s also been fantastic to meet new recruits like Mariaisabel and hear about the huge contribution they are making to our economy as they build the ultrafast network that we all need.”
Openreach’s Managing Director and Chair of the Openreach Wales Board, Kim Mears, said:
“Our National Learning Centre for Wales is testimony to our commitment to not only continued learning and development but also to Wales.
“The vast majority of new recruits come here to Newport to get their training before going out into the real world and helping us to build our Full Fibre infrastructure at speed across Wales.”