Orange committed more than €1.5 billion to retrain all employees across the group, stating the programme would play a central role in its recently-announced five-year Engage2025 strategy.

In a statement, Orange pledged to strengthen expertise in targeted growth areas: virtualisation; AI; cloud computing; code; and cybersecurity. It plans to double staff numbers in these areas to 20,000.

The operator said it would develop the use and knowledge of data, AI and cybersecurity across all of its business lines.

All employees will be introduced to relevant skills in the three fields and be offered the opportunity to develop soft skills covering areas including communication, networking and decision making.

To achieve its retraining plans the operator will open its Orange Campus online school to current and new employees. The service was previously exclusively used to train managers. Some training will lead to certification and diplomas.

An apprentice training centre will open later this year to train customer service technicians, cloud and cybersecurity engineers, and data analysts.

There will be a widescale deployment of on-the-job training over the next five years. Staff will be assigned dedicated guides and have targets set by managers. The operator planned a significant hike in the number of staff trained, from 500 in 2019 to at least 4,000 this year.

Executive director of human resources Valerie Le Boulanger said: “We believe that Orange’s sustainable transformation will depend on each and everyone’s ability to learn in new ways and to share their knowledge and expertise, and that the combination of technical and soft skills is one of the keys to our future success.”