As the fibre industry continues to grow, there are a lot of opportunities to enter the sector.
In this blog, we'll give you an overview of entering the fibre market as a Trainee Fibre Engineer. We will cover, what being a Trainee Fibre Engineer involves and the career progression available for the role.
Continue reading to find out how you can get a foothold in your fibre career journey as a Trainee Fibre Engineer!
What does a Trainee Fibre Engineer do?
To begin, you should note that, this role can be referred to by various other names on job adverts. These can include:
Fibre Optic Technician or Trainee Fibre Optic Technician
Fibre Engineering Trainee
Engineer Trainee or Engineering Trainee
Nonetheless, the role of any Fibre Engineer involves delivering fibre installation on existing and new build networks to specific customer specifications, this will include external and internal work. It can also involve working at height or underground.
Your role will be delivering connectivity to customers and to deliver a safe, clean, efficient, and effective, installation through poles and ducts. Some of your main responsibilities can include:
Developing and building your knowledge of splicing and testing optical fibre networks
Diagnose fibre-related issues
Read and work to fibre schematics
Provide quality control for contractor work
Installing sub-duct and blow fibre cable on Core routes
Introducing fibre to UG nodes and AFNs (Ariel Fibre Nodes)
Building and creating nodes (fibre cable joints)
As a trainee, you will be taken on in a full-time, permanent role and will receive fully funded training. The training programme will usually run for 6 - 18 months, beginning with two weeks of in-class learning at a training site. You will then move on to in the field training, shadowing experienced Fibre Engineers. You will be mentored and trained by experienced Fibre Engineers through your journey.
The programme will continue from there until you achieve all your certifications. Find out more about what a training opportunity involves here.
Once you are fully qualified and have some hands-on experience, you could be promoted to a qualified Fibre Engineer role, rising to a higher salary and taking on greater autonomy.
How much does a Trainee Fibre Engineer earn?
Trainee Fibre Engineer salaries can range from anywhere between £22,000 and £25,000 per year. Generally, In the UK, you'll find most roles advertised at an average of up to £25,000.
What skills do you need?
As there is no prior fibre or telecoms experience required, two things are essential. Firstly, Trainee Fibre Engineers must be happy doing hands-on work in the field, outdoors. Secondly, your attitude, willingness to learn new skills, and your commitment to the programme will be crucial.
Another important skill is your attention to detail, the training programme involves a lot of information being passed on to you, so it is key for you to be open to learning new things and having a keen eye to the details.
You will also need an ability to work independently and as part of a team, including good communication and customer service skills.
Another requirement is a full UK clean driving license.
What experience and knowledge do you need?
All you need to bring to the table is your attitude to learn what it takes to become a Fibre Engineer. You must also be willing to work outdoors, as you will be required to work on-site with training provided. That said, if you do have some experience in utilities, construction or telecoms this can all be valuable and well worth mentioning in your application.
These training programmes will usually combine classroom and on-the-job training, with the aim of you becoming a fully qualified Fibre Engineer.
How can you progress?
It is relatively easy to get into a Trainee Fibre Engineer role as no experience or key certifications are required from most companies. All that is required is usually a full driving license and your attitude/interest in the sector.
As mentioned above, your training will typically involve gaining experience and qualifications in fibre engineering, such as BTEC or NVQ in fibre engineering.
Once qualified, having hands on experience of delivering fibre installations will be key. Following on from that, Trainee Fibre Engineers can progress to a Fibre Engineer role, where they will be responsible for installing, maintaining, repairing fibre optic networks. With further experience and qualifications, Fibre Engineers can progress to a Fibre Supervisor, where they will be responsible for managing and supervising a team of Fibre Engineers. Gain more insight into what it takes to become a Fibre Supervisor with our guide here.
You can also progress to a Fibre Engineering Manager where you will be responsible for overseeing the entire fibre engineering team and ensuring that all projects are completed on time and to a high standard. Fibre engineering is a great foundation for going into almost any senior role on a fibre build project such as Delivery Manager, Build Manager, read our guide on becoming a Fibre Engineer here.
Typical average salaries in the UK for these roles are:
Fibre Engineer – the average salary is usually around £34,000 per year – this can range from between £27,000 and £42,000 per year.
Senior Fibre Engineer – the average salary is somewhere around £53,000 per year.
Fibre Engineering Manager – the average salary for this is £60,000 per year.
The key takeaway
Fibre is a relatively new industry, as such, there aren’t enough skilled professionals in the market. A Trainee Fibre Engineer role is a great way to enter this industry and build a lasting career, as qualified and experienced fibre professionals are in high demand across Britain.
To start your career in the fibre industry as a trainee requires a desire and willingness to learn. If getting involved in a nationwide project to help connect communities and contribute to your local community is something you’re interested in, a Trainee Fibre Engineer is a great place to start!
The career path of a Fibre Engineer can include promotions to Supervisor or Fibre Engineers can continue their professional development and earn qualifications in other areas. Fibre also has many transferable skills and qualifications for industries such as Utilities or the wider Telecoms industry. This is paved with a lot of opportunities in terms of your career progression, including great benefits/packages, higher salaries and autonomy.
We hope that this blog provides an insight into what it takes to start a career in the fibre industry.