SDH plans telecom construction colleges

SDH Project Services, the Yorkshire-based telecommunications and infrastructure company acquired by Telcom Group in March, plans to open three specialist training academies, including one in Manchester, as part of its mission to revolutionise the country’s internet.

To date, Britain has struggled to provide broadband speeds that are on a par with European neighbours. This challenge has become even more acute during the lockdown. With so many people currently either working from home or furloughed, the internet has become a lifeline even more than before. We are seeing huge increases in the amount of data being consumed from residential addresses and naturally a huge decrease in the data being used in commercial properties. Simply put, the UK’s Internet Infrastructure wasn’t built for this.

The additional challenge that Britain faces is the lack of a skilled workforce in this sector of the telecom construction industry. SDH plans to change this by recruiting people – even those with little or no previous qualifications – and train up to 1,000 construction workers within the first year. The college plan is part of the Dig for Britain campaign launched by SDH and partners to recruit 10,000 workers in the next three years.

The first academy will be based in Hartlepool with plans to open a further two in Leeds-Bradford and Manchester in the coming months. The site of the Manchester college has not yet been revealed.

Doug WardDoug Ward, CEO of SDH Project Services, said: “Given the restricted travel, the UK has a unique opportunity to train the next generation of construction workers. We want to create a team that can help us upgrade the British internet system to make it worthy of a forward-thinking country like ours. Our vision creates better jobs, better infrastructure and a better Britain.”

Highways workers and telecoms engineers have been classified key workers by government as the internet becomes a vital service alongside energy and water utilities.

Ward continued: “There are a lot of people who have suddenly found themselves lost and without a job. Our course will allow people to take pride in building a new career with real promotion and management prospects. We believe it will particularly appeal to ex-servicemen and women, who have already demonstrated that they are capable of teamwork, an important quality needed for this sector of the construction industry.

“We are calling on the public to recognise that now, more than ever, it is time to ‘Dig For Britain’ and that they will be playing a vital role in future of this country, starting with the Northern Powerhouse.”

Subject to lockdown restrictions, SDH hopes to have the first recruits through the door by the end of May. The courses will range from two to nine weeks depending on the level required.

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