Clive Selley revealed that Openreach is taking steps to avoid possible skills shortage

The implications of Brexit could restrict access to a wider labour pool, slowing down Fibre-to-the-Premise (FTTP) deployment, Openreach CEO Clive Selley highlighted today. Speaking on the second day of Connected Britain 2019, Selley admitted he was concerned about Brexit – and revealed that Openreach has put a strategy in place to avoid a potential skills shortage.

“I am a little bit concerned about the implications of Brexit; I’m slightly worried about access to a wider labour pool,” he said. “This is one of the reasons why we are doing more hiring into Openreach rather than building a strategy that is completely reliant on third parties that often use European labour. So, I’m a little bit concerned at the industry level about access to large enough labor pool for very high scale FTTP deployment and we just need to all acknowledge that FTTP deployment is quite a labour intensive business.”

During the fireside chat with Paolo Pescatore, TMT Analyst at PP Foresight, Selley outlined how Openreach has hired 6,000 field engineers over 2018 and 2019. Most of these engineers, he said, will be applied to the job of rolling out full fibre networks across the UK, in every part of the UK.

Selley also said that Openreach has created ten world-class fibre training facilities in each of the regions of the nation so that these engineers can be trained and then deployed to the programme of “the large fibre build.”

During the Q&A session with Pescatore, Selley also touched on other steps Openreach has taken to accelerate the fibre roll-out across the UK. These included improved services which are being delivered faster than ever before, fixing faults faster than ever before and getting broadband to the remaining not spots in the country.

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