Fancy a job as a telecoms engineer?

Now you can experience a 360 degree simulation of what it involves – including climbing telephone poles and inspecting underground chambers.

Local network business Openreach, which is part of BT Group, plans to recruit more than 45 trainees in West Yorkshire – with Huddersfield and Halifax key recruiting grounds.

They will fill full-time and permanent roles to extend Openreach’s fibre broadband network, improve customer service and keep the region connected. It is part of a UK-wide initiative to hire 1,500 trainee engineers over the next eight months.

Potential candidates will be able to discover exactly what life as a field engineer involves with the help of virtual reality (VR). The company is piloting a VR experience which enables applicants to don a headset and experience climbing a telephone pole or exploring the local exchange building in immersive 3D from the perspective of a real engineer.

New trainees will embark on a tailored 12 month accredited learning programme - including on-the-job experience – leading to an externally recognised qualification for IT, software and telecoms professionals.

Openreach chief executive Clive Selley said: “Improving customer service is our number one priority so we’re investing in our people to make sure we deliver. Our customers need us to install new lines and repair our network faster than ever and by increasing the number of people working on proactive network maintenance, we can fix more issues before people even notice them.”

Kevin Brady, human resources director for Openreach, said: “Everyone wonders what it might be like to work for a company when they apply for a job, but we’re giving people the ability to physically see it and experience it for themselves.”

He said: “Becoming an engineer can be a very rewarding career choice and of course some aspects of the job are both mentally and physically challenging. We know, for example, that climbing a pole for the first time can be daunting for new recruits and that’s why we wanted to give people a real insight into what’s involved. Hopefully it will help them to make a more informed decision when they come to apply.”

The 360-degree videos are available to watch on YouTube and can be viewed on any PC, tablet or VR headset. Videos include an engineer’s eye view from the top of a telephone pole, a virtual tour of a telephone exchange and a look inside a green roadside cabinet.

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