Young recruits at forefront of Lancashire’s

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PICTURES 1/ Meet the class of 2014 - group photo of apprentices in pole training forest wearing hard hats and high viz jackets; 2/ Getting to know the network: training manager Geoff Thompson, from Preston, gives the new recruits their first glimpse of an underground cable chamber. 3/ pic of Josh McNeil, from Chorley; 4/ Following in their fathers’ footsteps are Joe Fenerty, Jess Duckworth and Adam Shepherd. 5/ Flying the flag for female apprentices are Jess Duckworth and Yasemin Sunbul.



Young recruits at forefront of Lancashire’s

superfast fibre broadband future;

Chorley youngster is among new apprentices looking forward to

learning and earning’

Meet the class of 2014 who are helping to rollout high-speed broadband across Lancashire….

These 10 young people are among the latest apprentices to join Openreach, the BT

Group business which builds and maintains the local network for all providers of telephone

and broadband services.

This particular group has a very special remit. They have been recruited specifically

to work on the Superfast Lancashire partnership between BT and Lancashire County

Council that will bring high-speed fibre broadband to 97 per cent of the county by the end of


The eight young men and two young women - who hail from across the county

– were all attracted by the idea of ‘learning and earning’ on the job, whilst working towards a

recognised qualification – a BTECH NVQ Level 3 in ICT (information and communications


Among them is Josh McNeil, aged 20, from Chorley.

As well as undergoing formal training to learn how to design and plan the new fibre

network, over the next few months they’ll be buddying up with engineers – including teams

who install the underground network and telephone poles - and other BT colleagues from

around the company.

This group of apprentices has something else in common. Perhaps not surprisingly

they’re all avid internet users and are therefore extremely excited about joining the team

that’s helping to bring high-speed fibre broadband to nearly every corner of Lancashire.

Several of the apprentices are already enjoying faster fibre broadband at home.

Josh said: “I’ve been using fibre for about eight months now. Right from the start the

difference was incredible. I used to only get around two megabits per second, but then

speeds got 40 times faster.

“I use it for all sorts of things – from online gaming and streaming, to downloading


At 16, Yasemin Sunbul, from Blackburn, is the youngest recruit. She joined

Openreach after completing her GCSEs. It was her interest in engineering that first attracted

her to the apprenticeship – an interest which is eclipsed only by her passion for iceskating,

in which she hopes to one day represent her country at an international level.

She added: “The internet’s great for all sorts of social media, as well as for doing

online shopping and getting news updates.”

‘Keeping it in the family’ are Joe Fenerty and Adam Shepherd, both from Preston,

and Jess Duckworth, from Burnley.

Joe, aged 19, is the third generation of his family to join BT Group, following in the

footsteps of dad, Alan - who works as a fibre broadband engineer - his now retired

grandfather, Joe Caton – as well as his uncles, Adrian Johal and Lee Caton.

He said: “I know it will be totally different from anything I’ve done before, but the work

really interests me – and obviously came highly recommended!

“I’ve had fibre broadband at home for about six months now and the difference is

amazing. I could hardly do anything online before, but now it’s great for interactive online

gaming, as well as things like Twitter and Facebook, and watching things like BT Sport.”

Jess, aged 18, follows in the footsteps of her father, Kelsey, who is a planning

manager for Openreach, said: “It will be great to earn money while I’m learning. I’m really

looking forward to learning more about the business, and achieving set goals and challenges

along the way.

“I use fibre broadband at home, so I know how important it is.”

Meanwhile, Adam, from Preston, also follows in the footsteps of his father, David


Adam, whose hobbies include playing football and online gaming, said: “I’ve been

using fibre at home for about six months now. I use it for things like social media and

interactive gaming on my X-box, as well as for watching BT Sport.”

Councillor Sean Serridge, Lancashire County Council’s champion for digital inclusion,

said: “It’s great to see these first 10 apprentices, specifically recruited to work on the

Superfast Lancashire project, now in post.

“One of the key aims of the project has always been to boost local businesses and

create jobs, so I’m really pleased see these young people, who come from across

Lancashire, both contributing to the project and benefitting so directly from it.”

Steve Edwards, BT director for Next Generation Access for the north of the UK, said:

“These young people are at the forefront of the fibre revolution that will drive future economic

growth across Lancashire whilst at the same time changing for the better the way people

communicate, learn, do business and enjoy their spare time.”

Superfast Lancashire is a partnership between Lancashire County Council and BT,

with additional funding from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK, as well as the

European Regional Development Fund, Blackburn with Darwen Council and Blackpool


The rapid progress of the Superfast Lancashire project means that more than 350,000 Lancashire homes and businesses - 52 per cent of all premises in the county –

can now get access to high-speed fibre broadband, when BT’s commercial roll-out of fibre broadband is also taken into account.

Engineers have also begun planning and building the next phase of the Superfast Lancashire project – providing a further 21,500 homes and businesses with access to high-speed broadband by the end of March. Once this phase of the rollout is complete, this will take the total number of premises able to access faster broadband as a direct result of the project to more than 39,000, with tens of thousands more premises to follow over the coming year under subsequent phases of the roll out.

In addition to the roll-out of high-speed broadband across the county, a Business

Support Centre has opened as part of Superfast Lancashire and is run by a team of

specialists to advise small and medium-sized businesses across the county how to use the

new technology to enhance their business.

More information is available from:


Issued by the BT regional press office. For more information please contact Emma Tennant on 0800 085 0660 or email:

All news releases can be accessed at our web site:

About BT

BT is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of four lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Retail, BT Wholesale and Openreach.

For the year ended 31 March 2013, BT Group’s reported revenue was £18,103m with reported profit before taxation of £2,315m.

British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York. 

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