Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister Visits Openreach’s National Learning Centre for Wales

Newport, Wales – Natasha Asghar MS, the Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Transport and Technology, recently embarked on a visit to Openreach’s cutting-edge National Learning Centre for Wales. The purpose of her visit was to gain firsthand insights into how the UK’s largest digital infrastructure builder is preparing its engineers to bring ultrafast Full Fibre broadband to Wales.

Located in Newport, this state-of-the-art learning centre, with a multi-million-pound investment, serves as a training ground for budding Openreach engineers. Here, trainees have the unique opportunity to immerse themselves in a replica street, painstakingly constructed to replicate real-world network conditions.

Inaugurated by Welsh Government First Minister Mark Drakeford in 2021, this centre offers engineers a glimpse into a typical workday. They engage in tasks ranging from laying cables to constructing connections, conducting repairs, working underground, scaling telephone poles, and installing new services within homes and businesses.

The Newport centre plays a pivotal role in training, accommodating up to 6,000 new and existing Openreach engineers from not only Wales but also from farther afield during a typical year.

During her visit, Natasha Asghar MS experienced some of the rigorous training that Openreach engineers undergo. This included the unique opportunity to climb a telegraph pole and witness the splicing of fibre optic glass cables, where two ends of the cable are seamlessly fused together.

Speaking about her visit, Natasha Asghar MS, who represents South East Wales, expressed her enthusiasm: “It’s been a delight to meet the Openreach team and witness their operations at the learning centre in Newport. I firmly believe that the people of Wales deserve robust infrastructure, and it’s evident that ultrafast broadband is the way forward. We must ensure that we are on par with our counterparts in England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, and that’s why Wales needs to embrace the ultrafast revolution. Based on what I’ve observed today, I can confidently say that the future looks promising with Openreach.”

Natasha Asghar MS’s visit underscores the critical role that robust broadband infrastructure plays in Wales’ technological advancement and connectivity.

Jonny Rae

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