The Sky's the limit for BT apprentices in Leicestershire

The next generation of engineers have been learning the ropes in Leicestershire this week as part of a two-day ‘radio and rigging’ exercise.

The next generation of engineers have been learning the ropes in Leicestershire this week as part of a two-day ‘radio and rigging’ exercise.

More than 20 apprentices from across the country, aged between 18 and 29, have been getting to grips with what it’s like to work hundreds of feet above ground level.

The rookie recruits attended events over two days at BT’s radio tower at Copt Oak near Loughborough, learning how to safely install and check equipment on the 282 foot high structure.

BT’s Adam Oliver, who is also the chief executive of the institute of telecoms professionals, said: “One of the things we like to show apprentices is the wide range of roles that BT can offer them in their career. This is one of a series of events to help them get to know BT better but often proves to be the most physically daunting. The two days provide them with an insight into this work that our rigging engineers are involved with daily.”

The apprentices, who are from a number of different parts of the BT business including service delivery and network planning, learnt how to use guide ropes to lift equipment such as satellite dishes to the higher levels of the tower. They performed a simulated emergency rescue of a colleague before finally getting the opportunity to climb to the top.

Will Tepper, 22, an apprentice with Openreach, said: “The Copt Oak experience has been great and I’ve enjoyed every minute. We’ve been given a really good insight into what it takes to be a radio and rigging engineer and how to safely carry out some of the tasks people face if they’re working in that environment.”

BT’s radio tower at Copt Oak is 282 feet high but sits on top of a 750 foot ridge at Copt Oak, near Loughborough. This means it can broadcast across much of the East Midlands and it transmits the signals for a number of BBC and commercial radio stations, as well as mobile phone operators. It is also the main training site for BT’s rigging engineers.

Built in the 1960’s, it was initially used to carry the UK’s telephone calls stretching across the country from BT Tower in London.

Guy Bolton, one of BT’s tower, rigging safety, policy and access compliance managers, said: “We do everything we can to make the new recruits feel at ease and make the day as interesting and informative as possible. Things have moved on quite a bit since the tower was built in the 1960’s, and we’re now able to use technology to help out with some of the day-to-day tasks.”

The tower is in the process of being strengthened due to an increase in the amount of equipment that needs to be housed on the tower. The strengthening works is due to take around 2 months.

It was announced earlier this year that BT is creating 1,000 new apprenticeships and graduate jobs for young people. The new recruits will work in a range of areas across BT, including software development, IT, engineering and digital technology.

BT also reiterated its commitment to tackling youth unemployment, by providing up to 1,000 vocational training and work experience placements for out of work youngsters in 2015/16.

For more information about apprenticeship opportunities with BT visit www.btplc.com/Careercentre/Ourlocations/UK/Apprenticeships/index.htm

For more information about graduate careers with BT visit www.btplc.com/Careercentre/Ourlocations/UK/Graduates/index.htm

For more information on the Institute of Telecoms Professionals visit www.theitp.org


For further information

Enquiries about this news release should be made to Chris Jones in the BT regional press office can be contacted on its 24-hour number: 0800 085 0660. All news releases can be accessed at our web site: http://www.btplc.com/News

Notes to Editors 

About the Institute of Telecommunications Professionals (ITP)
The Institute of Telecommunications Professionals (ITP) is the UK’s leading independent institution for people who work in telecommunications.

The ITP has a proud heritage that dates back to 1906, when telecommunications was seen as a new industry. Since then, it has become an essential part of modern life – providing a voice to the professionals who work within the sector.

Formerly known as the Institute of Post Office Engineers (IPOEE) and the Institution of British Telecom Engineers (IBTE), the ITP has more than 8,000 members, representing in excess of 200 organisations across the UK and worldwide.