MORE than 80 trainee engineers will be hired across Hampshire as part of the largest recruitment drive ever undertaken by telecoms firm Openreach, formerly part of BT.

The 83 new Hampshire roles, part of 3,500 available across the UK during the next 12 months, will be located the New Forest, Romsey, Southampton,Winchester, Aldershot and Basingstoke,

The trainees will help deliver Openreach’s ‘Fibre First’ programme will deliver expanded ‘full fibre’ FTTP networks in up to 40 towns, cities and boroughs.

It has committed to making FTTP available in three million British homes and business by the end of 2020.

Clive Selley, chief executive of Openreach, said: “These trainee engineers will be playing a vital role in the future success and prosperity of the UK. Over the last year our 22,200 engineers have been the driving force behind Government reaching its target of making 'superfast’ broadband available to more than 95 per cent of the country, whilst also improving our customer service performance - but we want to do more."

David Jordan, Openreach’s director of next generation access for the South of England, said: “This latest recruitment represents a further major investment in Hampshire. It’s very exciting news for our county. We’re looking forward to men and women from all walks of life applying for these roles at Openreach as we’re keen to engage with the aspiring engineers of tomorrow and to build a diverse workforce that reflects the hugely diverse communities we serve."

“Becoming an engineer can be an incredibly rewarding career, and we’re constantly improving our training and recruitment programmes to make sure we attract and keep the best engineers in the business. This year we’ve invested 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 clear sense of the skills, accountabilities and experience they need to get where they want to be.

More details are available on the firm's Movement to Work website.