The National Team (NT) has been engaged in extensive discussion with the corporation regarding a new approach to engineer apprenticeships and career pathways, as Branches will be aware of previously disseminated correspondence, reports delivered at Briefing Committees, and regular updates to CWU SPOCs. The recruitment procedure, opportunities for promotion for current employees, and the effects on current and former apprentices have all been topics of these lengthy conversations.
The letter that is included outlines the current situation and the problems that the NT will keep bringing up and working on with the business over the next few months.
The CWU NT has made it clear to Openreach that, with regard to current and future hiring, we think a mixed strategy that secures a variety of entry points into the business is the best course of action. We have suggested that confining the process to a one-route-in methodology will limit the types of applicants who apply and reduce the potential for further insourcing some externally delivered tasks. The letter outlines the development that has taken place as well as the review procedures that will be used moving ahead.
Currently, Openreach uses the complete spectrum of recruitment techniques to hire external recruits as Craft Apprentices, as well as those in Civils positions and into the Chief Engineers Office. Branches will receive more information about the latter two strategies in the future.
In an effort to encourage firms to take a more formal approach to hire and training, the government has modified the way that apprenticeships are funded. Larger companies, including BT Group, now pay a tax as a result of this, although they can also use the monies that are made available to them. To replace the current 30-month model and give new hires the opportunity to earn a Level 2 NVQ, Openreach has developed a new one-year apprenticeship program. These relevant regulating bodies have given their approval. Additionally, it should be mentioned that this is a test strategy that Openreach and the CWU NT will jointly evaluate.
The NT has also spoken with the corporation about career advancement chances in the field because this has long been a concern for our members and was brought into sharp relief by the Working Together initiative, which saw a decline in desk-based employment opportunities in many regions. As we advance, those prospects could be further diminished by automated operations.