BT's Openreach broadband business is recruiting 1,600 new engineers around the UK, and is calling for more women and former armed services personnel to apply.

Openreach has already launched a campaign encouraging women to enter the world of engineering.

Prime minister David Cameron welcomed Openreach's recruitment drive. He said: "BT is launching this major recruitment drive for 1,600 engineers across the UK, providing financial security for families and delivering a world class infrastructure for Britain."

Joe Garner, CEO at Openreach, said: "We are keen to recruit women, as I'm keen to dispel the myth that being an engineer is an exclusively male vocation. We have many successful women engineers and it is my personal belief that recruiting more will also help our customer service agenda."

BT has a long-standing relationship with the UK Armed Forces, and some of the latest group of new recruits will join through its well-established Civilian Work Attachment scheme. This helps to facilitate a smooth transition from the Forces into the civilian workplace.

The BT group reported flat sales and profits for the year earlier this month.