Tech and Telecoms

Digital Infrastructure invests into North-West training facility in bid to tackle telecoms skills gap

UK Telecommunication infrastructure owner, Digital Infrastructure, has opened its ‘Digital Infrastructure Centre of Excellence’ [DICE] – to address the sector’s talent shortage and provide 100+ people per year with the skills and qualifications needed for a career in the telecoms industry.

As part of £100m in private funding from Basalt Infrastructure Partners, network provider Digital Infrastructure opened the 360 sqm development on the Sankey Valley Industrial Estate (Newton-le-Willows) on August 31. The space features a large outdoor ‘street’, mock up, pole field, residential installation room, and four further classrooms. 

“We want to empower people to find a job for life,” explained Gerard McGill, strategy and enablement director at Digital Infrastructure. “As an employer, it’s our responsibility to support the ambitions of those in our sector and beyond, and it’s important that we do our bit in addressing the skills gap when it comes to fostering the brightest and best in telecoms talent.”

In what will provide a huge boost for the region – in terms of ability and opportunities – the development will also help push the UK towards its full-fibre 'nationwide-by-2030' goals, by addressing a significant resource gap within the sector. 

“The Government is aiming to have all UK homes connected to full-fibre broadband by 2030 – and we want to be a part of that legacy,” added CEO of Digital Infrastructure, Charlie Ruddy. “The challenge is, the boom in the telecoms sector has had a knock-on effect whereby there’s a significant lack of skilled labour – meaning everyone is chasing the same resource, leading to a bidding war and inflation. Digital Infrastructure’s training centre has been created to counteract that. 

“We are investing in the future of the UK’s connectivity – in terms of infrastructure and ability – and for that there needs to be a much larger talent pool to draw from, across the board. This centre isn’t solely for Digital Infrastructure, but for partners, suppliers, and even our competitors. Ultimately, we’re all working towards the same end-goal.”

With capacity for up to 32 students per day, and courses lasting between 6 and 12 weeks, programmes will provide vital hands-on experience, dovetailed by academic study provided by training provider Inside Connections..

Digital Infrastructure is also working towards accreditation by City & Guilds, Smart awards, and PIA – and is expected to upskill more than 50 learners by the end of 2022. 

The opening brings Digital Infrastructure closer to its ambitions of creating up to 500 engineering and white-collar jobs within the company – and its sister ISP, BeFibre – by the end of 2023.

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