A new state-of-the-art training centre for Openreach broadband engineers, complete with an entire street scene including offices, shops and homes, has been delivered in Peterborough by national commercial property consultancy Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH).
Following the success of the scheme, LSH will be assisting Openreach in the design and project management of further centres planned across the UK.
Openreach plans to take on 395 trainees for the East of England region as part of a national recruitment drive to find 3,000 trainee engineers over the next year. Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd was guest of honour at the official launch ceremony at the training centre in Saville Road, Peterborough.
The centre, which will employ 12 training staff, will train engineers from across the East Midlands. At least 2,000 engineers will pass through its doors annually, with 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.
Dudley Cross, head of office at LSH in Northampton, led delivery of the Peterborough project. He said: “Following a long history of working with BT, LSH was asked to design and project manage this impressive new Openreach training centre. We began the design process in April last year, working closely with Openreach to understand how they currently train new and existing engineers and how the training could be better delivered.
“Working with trainers from Openreach, we have developed a revolutionary training model, including a complete street scene, built entirely indoors. This now means that training of new engineers can take place in a real-life environment, providing a hands-on learning experience such as installing new lines or finding simulated network faults in houses, flats, shops and offices, both above and below ground.
“By providing the new facility within an existing building, the great thing is that the training is no longer weather dependent and can be completed at any time in a controlled but realistic environment.”
Openreach is planning to build 12 more training centres by 2021 and following the official launch of the centre by Amber Rudd, LSH’s building consultancy team in Northampton will assist in the design and project management of the further schemes. “The Peterborough centre is being used as a blueprint for new centres which will be replicated across the country,” added Dudley.
Clive Selley, chief executive of Openreach, said: “We’re making great progress towards reaching our target of upgrading three million homes and 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, across the entire country.”