Thousands of BT employees are set to be awarded potentially life-changing sums of money as part of a £265m (€376m, $415m) share payout.

The windfall from two save-as-you-earn plans will be shared among 23,000 call-centre workers and engineers, with some employees expected to rake in more than £54,000. The two schemes are worth around £10,200 and £4,400 on average to each participant, based on the company's current share price.

Gavin Patterson, BT's chief executive, said: "The hard work and commitment shown by our employees has put BT in a strong position to better serve our customers. This is reflected in the increase in share price since people started saving."

Staff who joined the "saveshare" schemes will be able to buy BT shares at a knock-down price – as cheap as £1.04 – and sell them for the current share price of around £4.60. Nearly a third of BT's UK employees signed up for the plans and approximately £265m worth of shares will be available for saveshare participants to buy for about £77m.

In 2014, a similar scheme saw front-line BT staff share a £1.3bn windfall. The payouts have been credited with the rising fortunes of the telecoms giant and its share price. At the end of July, BT reported an increase in profits and the company is ramping up its rivalry with Sky in the sports broadcast arena.