BT Group appoints the inaugural fellows under pioneering Tech Fellowship Programme


By Howard Watson, Chief Security and Networks Officer, BT Group

BT Group is at the forefront of connectivity and innovation in the UK. If we just look at the past few months, we’ve announced a technology breakthrough to meet growing customer demand for live TV, we’ve demonstrated network slicing capabilities for mobile gaming and video conferencing and we’ve conducted a Microsoft Teams call using a quantum optical radio receiver in what we believe to be a first. 

These are just a few examples of the brilliant work being delivered across BT Group, and much of this is underpinned by our engineers in Networks. Their passion, ingenuity and technical expertise drives many of the solutions and services for which we are known today.

Harnessing and sharing that immense amount of knowledge, skills and expertise has long been an objective of mine, and is why, in part, we set up the BT Tech Fellowship programme two years ago. I’m delighted to see how this has very quickly become a thriving, self-sustaining community within BT Networks.

Today, we’re launching a little more formally to the outside world, and the main reason for that is because we’ve recognised our first Fellows – the highest level of achievement within the Fellowship, and a major accomplishment for my four colleagues.

But first, a bit about our Tech Fellowship. It’s a fantastic career development programme led by engineers, for engineers – recognising and inspiring technical talent, providing support and opportunities for skills development, and fostering a community of knowledge sharing by bringing together the full breadth of technical expertise from across BT Group’s Networks unit.

It’s a win for colleagues, for BT Group and for society. For colleagues, they have the opportunity to develop as technical specialists, keep their finger on the pulse of the latest technology, and establish themselves as an expert who’ll make an impact in an ever-changing industry. For the company, in addition to the fantastic benefits of having a talented and diverse community, the programme enables technical experts to be brought together into ‘squads’ to work on technologies in areas such as AI, Security, Energy in Networks, IoT and Cloud Scaling, bringing together new insights, expertise and ways of thinking. This true innovation that comes from bringing together brilliant people converts not only into products and services for our customers but also, innovations that can transform society.

There are four levels of involvement in the Tech Fellowship programme: Member, Accomplished Engineer, Distinguished Engineer, and Fellow. In the community we already have over 1700 members, with 133 of those recognised as Accomplished Engineers and 35 recognised as Distinguished Engineers. And today, I congratulate our first Fellows – these exceptional colleagues have been awarded the Fellows status in recognition of their contributions to engineering or for their outstanding technical achievements and leadership, and as thought leaders/experts in their given field.

I look forward to seeing this community grow and prosper. The diversity of thought, coupled with technical knowledge and skills that is enabled by the Tech Fellowship programme will be a key element in enabling BT Group to continue to be a great place to work as well as a company that is at the forefront of technology innovation for our customers and society.