BT is to create 1,000 jobs at the company's Openreach business
Communications giant BT is to create 1,000 jobs as it continues to invest in fibre broadband.
The engineering jobs are being created at the company's Openreach business, with most of the new recruits set to install fibre broadband in customers' homes, and are in addition to 1,500 extra engineers taken on in the past year.
The announcement was warmly welcomed by the Prime Minister, who said broadband services in the UK were being "transformed".
Following the recruitment, there will be more than 6,000 people working on what BT said was believed to be the fastest fibre roll-out in the world. BT's fibre network is already the largest in the UK, passing more than 13 million premises, and the technology is being made available to an additional 100,000 homes and businesses every week.
The business will fill the 1,000 posts with 400 apprentices, further armed forces personnel and other candidates, including some long-term unemployed.
BT chief executive Ian Livingston said the investment will help cement the UK's position as one of the leading broadband nations in Europe.
He said: "We remain highly confident that fibre can be provided to more than 90% of UK homes and businesses, making the UK a global digital leader. Faster broadband will help to fuel the UK economy and the jobs we are creating are part of that. Almost half of the jobs will be offered under our popular apprenticeship scheme giving young people the chance to earn a recognised qualification and pursue a career as a skilled telecoms engineer."
David Cameron said: "Working with business, the Government is driving a transformation in UK broadband services and with an extra 100,000 homes and businesses gaining superfast broadband availability each week, this is already taking shape. Providing much faster broadband speeds, and enabling millions more homes and businesses to enjoy these speeds is vital for driving investment and equipping the UK to compete and thrive in the global race."
BT has recruited around 460 apprentices in the current financial year after receiving 18,500 applications - more than 40 for each available position. Openreach will work with the Ministry of Defence and the Careers Transition Partnership to attract further people who are due to leave the armed forces.
The business has recruited more than 1,000 staff from the armed forces in the past two years and is keen to find a further 200 under this latest recruitment programme. BT is investing £2.5 billion in fibre broadband.