In March 2021, the Government launched ‘Project Gigabit’ in a bid to reach more than one million of homes and businesses located in hard-to-reach areas as part of a £5 billion government infrastructure project to rollout fibre broadband in the UK. (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-launches-new-5bn-project-gigabit)
The project has been said to help accelerate the UK’s recovery from Covid, fire up high growth in sectors like tech as well as level up the country by spreading wealth and creating jobs.
Companies like Openreach and City Fibre to name a couple, have already been part of the full fibre rollout to homes and businesses across the UK and Project Gigabit is the next step.
In short, with heavy investment in the telecoms sector, recruitment for Fibre Engineers is at an all time high.
So, how do you become a Telecoms/Fibre Engineer?
Primarily, there are two main ways to become a qualified Telecoms/Fibre Engineer:
Firstly, you can enrol on a college course such as the following four:
Level 2 Award in Communications Cabling
Level 3 Diploma in Professional Competence for IT and Telecoms Professionals
T Level in Maintenance, Installation and Repair for Engineering and Manufacturing
T Level in Engineering, Manufacturing, Processing and Control
You can also do an Apprenticeship in the following:
Telecoms Field Operative Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship
Network Cable Installer Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship
Radio Network Technician Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship
Being a Telecoms/Fibre Engineer requires the following skill and knowledge:
- broadcasting and telecommunications knowledge
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- the ability to use your initiative
- maths knowledge
- knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
- the ability to work well with your hands
- analytical thinking skills
- customer service skills
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
Other accreditations/certificates and experience required:
- Smart Awards SA001 and SA002 accreditation and experience
- Cable installation, splitter box installation, fibre routing and power testing
- Knowledge of street works safe working practices, including NRSWA Signing, Lighting and Guarding
- NRSWA and Safe Working Practices Accredited
- A full driving license I also a must as you will be required to travel between jobs
What does a day in the life of Telecoms/Fibre Engineer look like?
As a telecoms engineer, you could be set up mobile, fixed communications and data networks and repair lines and equipment on mobile masts and antennae.
You may also lay and test underground and underfloor cabling, find and fix faults, including using software remotely, design, build and test components and equipment as well as communicate with customers in person, on the phone or online.
You could work at a client’s home or at a client’s business. Your working environment may be at height, cramped, outdoors in all weathers and you’ll travel often. You’ll need to wear safety clothing and use safety equipment.
What does career progression look like in this sector?
With the right training and experience, you could progress to supervisory roles, move into network design or into electronic engineering.
The national average salary for a Telecom/Fibre Engineer is £32,112 in United Kingdom according to Glassdoor UK.