A TELECOMS company aims to create scores of jobs in a business expansion.

Openreach is looking to recruit around 80 North-East trainee engineers to strengthen work on its fibre broadband network.

Bosses say nearly 50 of the posts will come in County Durham and Teesside, with roles identified for operations in Durham City, Darlington, Middlesbrough and Stockton.

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The move is part of a UK-wide scheme to hire 1,500 trainee engineers.

Derek Richardson, Openreach’s North-East programme director for network delivery, said: “High-speed communications have never been more important for households and businesses, and will become even more important in the years ahead.

“We know the region is an excellent place to recruit skilled and motivated people; the trainees will be playing a vital part in the future success and prosperity of our region.”

Clive Selley, Openreach chief executive, added: “Improving customer service is our number one priority.

“Customers need us to install new lines and repair our network faster than ever, and by increasing the number of people working on maintenance, we can fix more issues before people even notice them.”

Openreach is part of the BT Group but officials earlier this month revealed it will become a distinct company with its own staff and management to address competition concerns from regulator Ofcom.

In a separate move, BT plans to create 165 apprenticeship and graduate jobs in the North-East, including at bases in Darlington, Durham City, Sunderland and Newcastle.

The drive will include Darlington’s largest private employer, mobile phone operator EE, which BT previously took on in a £12.5bn deal.

BT also runs a warehouse in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, which processes thousands of orders every day for items such as broadband hubs and phones.