BT uses VR to lure fresh Openreach engineers

A quirky addition to the Openreach charm offensive sees BT using virtual reality to give prospective engineers a taste of telecoms glamour.

The underlying message is “we’re recruiting loads more Openreach engineers to improve its service so just back off Ofcom, Sky, etc.” In an attempt to score a double PR win BT is focusing on trainees, so it will be able to use worthy phrases such as ‘investing in Britain’.

But it seems not every aspiring young professional views laying cable as their dream vocation, so BT is employing the latest technology to help them appreciate the buzz of being a field engineer. Strapping on a VR headset will transport the budding worker from their humdrum daily lives to a magical alternative reality that might include climbing a telephone pole or exploring the local exchange.

“Improving customer service is our number one priority so we’re investing in our people to make sure we deliver,” said Openreach Chief Exec Clive Selley. “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.

“We are also continuing to roll out superfast broadband services at scale and making big investments in our network to make ultrafast broadband available to up to 12 million homes by the end of 2020. We want to recruit the very best people to help us on that journey and our new trainee engineering roles will offer people the hands on experience they need to succeed.”

All this compliant fawning seems to have got the desired response from the UK government, albeit with plenty more self-promotion. “The Government’s £1.7 billion rollout programme has helped take superfast broadband to more than nine out of ten homes and businesses in the UK and we are reaching thousands more every week,” said Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Karen Bradley.

“Openreach engineers have played a pivotal role in helping deliver this, and these 1,500 new recruits will be a fantastic addition to our thriving digital economy.”

Well done everyone. You can get a taste of the full VR experience via the 360-degree video below, in which we are taken to the top of a suburban telephone pole.


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