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Ray Cherry’s 50 year career has helped deliver the communications revolution

14 May 2017
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Ray Cherry
Ray Cherry, 67, became an apprentice telecoms engineer in January 1967, and for 50 years he has helped deliver the communications revolution. 

"As a 17-year-old school-leaver, I walked into Telephone House in Oxford to ask if they had any jobs. I was lucky enough to be taken on as an apprentice, with three-month rotations in various departments, so I learned the ropes pretty quickly and, after a three-year apprenticeship, I became a maintenance engineer.

"When I started, most telephone exchanges weren’t automated or digital, and calls were manually connected by operators using plugs. Our network wasn’t as big as it is today and many households shared a single phone line.

"Fast-forward to today and Openreach maintains more than 155 million kilometres of fibre and copper network across the country, and I’ve had to evolve my knowledge base and skill set constantly to keep up with the digital revolution.

"Now I’m a delivery manager, and each week I’m meeting with major mobile operators to assess their needs before working to install fibre to their network of wireless masts.

"The pace of technology change is so fast, and, with more and more devices connecting to the internet, we’re making sure over 500 broadband and mobile service providers can meet that demand. I spend much of my time liaising with teams across the country to deliver any upgrades we need.

"I absolutely love what I do and I’ve not taken a single day off sick in 50 years. My motto is, ‘Enjoy every day, every day.’ I don’t see it as having the same job for five decades – it’s been more like a series of rewarding assignments.”