New BT apprentices recruited to help meet the demand for Superfast Broadband services in Northern Ireland

13th November 2012

Thirteen new apprentices have been recruited by BT in Northern Ireland to boost its engineering workforce and help meet the growing demand for super-fast broadband.

The successful applicants will join a strong highly skilled engineering workforce responsible for growing and maintaining the network infrastructure that delivers essential broadband, data and voice services for Northern Ireland homes, businesses and public services. In recent years BT has accelerated its investment in fibre infrastructure in both urban and rural areas with over 90 per cent of all premises now connected to a fibre cabinet, placing Northern Ireland ahead of most other major European countries in terms of broadband availability.

Last year BT celebrated the fiftieth year of its formal apprenticeships programme which continues to go from strength to strength. In the last three years alone 35 new apprentices were recruited in Northern Ireland into positions right across the business in IT, Engineering, Finance and Customer Service. This is in addition to the twenty people who have also begun their careers in October 2012 with the BT Innovate & Design team in Belfast, whose role is to design and develop the technology and processes that sit at the core of the networks and platforms that run BT's business world-wide.

The latest intake of apprentices, ranging in age from 18 to 30, will embark on an 18 month programme co-ordinated by Engineering Training Services (ETS) Belfast with time spent at skill centres; Springvale Learning, Belfast and the BT Training centre Antrim. They will train as multi-skilled customer service engineers with the installation and maintenance of next generation super-fast broadband top of their training schedule.

Apprentice Fiona Curtis, Newry, said:

I just couldn’t resist applying for such an opportunity. I always wanted a career where I could combine theory with the hands on experience of learning about new technologies”.

Alex Crossan, Networks Director, BT, Northern Ireland said:

It is essential that we continue to have the skilled engineers we need to grow,maintain and improve our network which is delivering an increasingly sophisticated range of services. Our new apprentices will have a key role to play in our plans and in particular, the on-going deployment of super-fast broadband across Northern Ireland.
Again this year there has been unprecedented interest in our apprenticeship schemewith more than 300 applications received in Northern Ireland inthis latest round alone. This level of interest, alongside our ambitious fibre broadband roll-out programme, has led to the decision to continue our policy of offering engineering apprenticeships here in Northern Ireland.
In these difficult economic times the continuation of our apprenticeship programmeclearly demonstrates the value we place on our highly skilled workforce and shows a firm commitment by BT to continue to provide a first class service for our industry.”

Following completion of training the apprentices will be based in Enniskillen, Omagh, Portadown, Downpatrick and the greater Belfast areas in provision and maintenance roles.