News Detail

Openreach to provide in-house PASMA training

Instructor Keith Williams completes his PASMA qualification and tries out the TowerSure mobile inspection app. Photo: Craig Gorton. 27/03/2024 – Openreach is now a certified PASMA training member. This marks two significant milestones: enhancing safety standards for hundreds of their operatives engaged in work at height and obtaining a platform for increasing their use of mobile access towers. With a main training centre in Peterborough and five satellite centres assessed and approved, along with six PASMA-qualified training instructors, Openreach now offers PASMA's accredited training scheme in-house. PASMA training enables users of mobile towers and low-level access equipment to safely assemble, move and dismantle structures. All six Openreach instructors are also qualified to train managers in supervising work on towers.

More safety, more towers

One of the UK's largest workforces, Openreach provides and maintains overhead and underground copper and fibre telecoms cables, poles, ducts, cabinets, and exchanges, linking almost every home and business to the national broadband and telephone network. Part of their maintenance and installation work is done at height by engineers, who will now be afforded more access to PASMA training. That way, the company can safely expand their usage of mobile access towers out on the field. "PASMA membership and certification as a training member provide us with the tools to ensure the safety of our tower-using engineers in-house, safely increasing the use of mobile access towers in the field and extending the reach of our customer-facing operations." – Steve Tierney, Openreach’s overhead engineering safety policy and process manager They have also expressed interest in PASMA’s groundbreaking TowerSure, a digital tower safety system accessible via mobile app or browser that lets you digitise tower inspection and validation. Operatives use it to document and validate builds while managers use it to ensure everything is looking good on site, even when they can't make it there in person.

Becoming a PASMA-qualified training instructor

Six Openreach instructors have recently upped their skills, becoming the company's first PASMA-qualified training instructors. They’re now qualified to use their approved, in-house training centres to help colleagues work more safely with towers. To reach this level, instructors need to go through a mentoring stage after successfully passing PASMA’s instructor course. During mentoring, candidates observe a lead instructor deliver a course and then deliver one themselves under the lead instructor's supervision. Late October last year, instructors Keith Williams and Gareth Duffy completed their mentoring with PASMA-certified lead instructor Craig Gorton, who told us: "It was a great week for both delegates, who applied themselves very well. Both passed with ease."

Gareth Duffy teaching the theory section of a PASMA course during his qualified instructor training’s mentoring stage. Photo: Craig Gorton.

With this achievement, Keith and Gareth attained the status of PASMA-qualified instructors alongside their Openreach training colleagues Ian Griffiths, Shez Amin, Erkun Zekai and Ian Roberts, who underwent mentoring earlier that year.

Joining the PASMA family

Four of the six newly PASMA-qualified training instructors, Gareth Duffy, Shez Amin, Ian Griffiths and Keith Williams, as well as two safety managers, Steve Tierney and Rich Abercrombie, attended PASMA’s 2023 Annual Members’ Meeting last November.

Now equipped to provide PASMA training in-house, the Openreach instructors and safety managers took part in last year's PASMA AMM activities.

They also improved their tower knowledge in the AMM's special CPD session, gaining valuable insights from experts Karen O’Neill, Chris Smith, and George Lopez (featured on stage).

  To boost their tower training and safety skills even more, they joined the AMM's special instructor continuing professional development (CPD) session, under the guidance of our experienced training and auditing teams! CPD is a way for instructors to demonstrate a broader and deeper understanding of the knowledge and skills needed to run PASMA training courses. It’s also a requirement for renewing PASMA instructor qualifications, as well as one of the requirements for becoming a PASMA-qualified lead instructor, who can train others in becoming instructors themselves. Openreach’s commitment to PASMA certification, qualified instructor training and continuing professional development further reaffirms the company's care for their employees' well-being – and PASMA looks forward to supporting them in this endeavour!