Thousands of engineers to be recruited as new training school is opened in Peterborough

A telecommunications giant will announce today the recruitment of about 400 trainee engineers for the east of England as it officially opens a state-of-the-art training school in Peterborough.

Monday, 28th January 2019, 3:17 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 7:30 pm
Trainee engineers at work in one of the fields of poles at the Peterborough training school.

Openreach plans to take on 395 trainees for the region as part of a national recruitment drive to find 3,000 trainee engineers over the next year.

Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd will be guest of honour at a ceremony this morning to open the training centre centre in Saville Road, which is one of 12 being created nationally by Openreach as it seeks to link up homes and businesses to faster broadband for the 21st century.

The company says the training school, which will employ about 12 staff, will train 395 engineers for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.

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This training street has been named Vickers Way as a nod to the Vickers Machine Gun used by pilots flying out RAF Peterborough.

At least 2,000 engineers are expected to pass through the doors in Peterborough throughout the year, which will be a mix of new recruits and existing engineers doing specific training.

The trainees will join Openreach's team of telecoms experts working to expand, upgrade, maintain and install services over its national broadband network.

Ms Rudd said: "This is a huge expansion in high skilled, well paying, jobs across the UK and yet another demonstration of the jobs success we have seen since 2010.

”Because behind every employment number is a person and family whose self-esteem, mental wellbeing and economic circumstances and life chances are all vastly improved by being in the workplace.

“And it is also good news that these are some new training roles, developing the skills of our workforce.

She added: “Training and apprenticeships can help create opportunities for women in what are traditionally, male-dominated industries.

“Last year a record number of women moved into work, something reflected in Openreach’s record of hiring more female staff than ever before. It follows on from the good progress we’ve already made with 70,000 women since 2010 starting work as science and engineering professionals.”

Clive Selley, chief executive of Openreach, said: “We’re making great progress towards reaching our target of upgrading three million homes an businesses to full fibre by the end of 2020 – reaching another 13,000 premises per week – and these new East of England recruits will play a crucial role in that programme.

"Openreach is a people business and our new apprentices will enable us to fulfil our commitments, with an ultimate ambition to deliver the best possible connectivity to everyone, everywhere, equally, across the entire country.”

Carl Sproston, Openreach’s partnership director for the East of England, said:“We want people from all walks of life to apply for roles at Openreach, to build a diverse workforce that reflects the hugely diverse communities we serve.

"Last year we successfully recruited more women than ever before – and this year we want to go even further.

“Becoming an engineer can be an incredibly rewarding career, and we’re constantly improving our training and recruitment programmes, providing recognised qualifications, to make sure we attract an keep the best in the business.

"We’re investing heavily in upskilling our people, so they can now do more for customers in a single visit and we recently launched new career pathways to give our engineers a clearsense of the skills, accountabilities and experience they need to get where they want to be.”

For more details about the recruitment visit:


* The site has an engineering and military history that dates back to 1903 when Baker Perkins moved to Peterborough from London.

* Baker Perkins provided manufacturing and process services for the food industry throughout the world.

* During both world wars, the firm made a range of laundry equipment as well as the the British Quick Firing 6-pounder defence gun.

* RAF Peterborough was also established on the site in 1931 and was used as an RAF Flying Training School between 1936 and 1964.

* The Sergeants' Mess is still in use today with Openreach's pole fields and training centre standing on the Westwood Airfield.

* The WW2 pilots were trained using the SE 5 aircraft, equipped with the famous Vickers machine gun.

* The new training school features an ‘Open Street’, built to mimic a typical British residential road and provides a safe area in which engineers can train.

* It includes offices, shops and houses through to pavements, ducts, poles and cabinets.

* Engineers who come to Open Street can be given a comprehensive training assessment – from picking up a job, to arriving and setting up their working area safely, carrying out a risk assessment, climbing a pole and installing or repairing a line.