UK Shadow Minister for Digital Infrastructure, Chris Elmore MP, recently took a tour of Openreach’s state-of-the-art National Learning Centre for Wales to witness first-hand how the UK’s largest digital infrastructure builder is training its engineers to bring ultrafast Full fibre broadband to Wales.
Based in Newport, the multi-million pound learning centre will give trainee Openreach engineers the opportunity to learn the ropes and test their skills in a replica street, built from scratch to recreate the real network in the outside world.
Opened by Welsh Government First Minister, Mark Drakeford, the new centre will enable engineers to experience a typical working day – from laying cables to building joints and making repairs, working underground or climbing telephone poles and installing new services inside customers’ homes and businesses.
Up to 6,000 new and existing Openreach engineers from across Wales, as well as further afield, are expected to train at the Newport centre during a typical year as the company accelerates its flagship full fibre broadband deployment across the country.
During his visit, Chris Elmore MP, said:
It’s been great to see all the training and learning that Openreach apprentices go through here at Newport and in particular the emphasis they place on health and safety.
Full Fibre is such an important part of how we learn and how we work and Openreach’s work is crucial to how we deliver that over the coming weeks and months to the people of Wales and the rest of the UK.
Our National Learning Centre for Wales is testimony to our commitment to not only continued learning and development but also to Wales.
This year we’re recruiting 250 new apprentices across every part of Wales and the vast majority will 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.
With a workforce of around 2,300 across Wales, Openreach already employs the nation’s largest team of telecoms engineers and professionals. The business recently announced that it would create and fill around 250 additional jobs throughout Wales during 2022 as it continues to invest billions of pounds into its UK broadband network, people and training.
Across Wales more than 100,000 homes and businesses have already ordered a full fibre service from a range of retail service providers using the Openreach network. But this means that thousands more could be benefiting from some of the fastest, most reliable broadband connections in Europe and have yet to upgrade.
Recent research by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) highlighted the clear economic benefits of connecting everyone in Wales to full fibre. It estimated this would create a £2 billion boost to the Welsh economy.
This short video explains what Full Fibre technology is and you can find out more about our Fibre First programme, latest availability and local plans here.