Defence firm has record number of apprentices

Nigel Whitehead from BAE Systems. Picture: Ian Hargreaves
Nigel Whitehead from BAE Systems. Picture: Ian Hargreaves
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MORE than 2,000 apprentices are being trained by a defence and security business – the largest number in its history.

The 2,036 apprentices are equivalent to about six per cent of BAE System’s 34,000 UK employees.

This figure has surpassed the firm’s original target to train 2,000 apprentices by 2018.

In addition, BAE Systems has announced plans to recruit an additional 574 apprentices – 51 in Portsmouth – to join in September.

It said the figures reflect the need for a continuous supply of highly-skilled employees trained in-house, particularly to work on two concurrent submarine programmes at Barrow-in-Furness, in Cumbria.

Next year 293 apprentices will join the Barrow shipyard to work on the Dreadnought class submarines and the four remaining Astute class submarines. Both types of submarine are destined for the Royal Navy.

BAE says the number of apprentices also reflects their value to its UK businesses overall and the success of the apprentice training scheme.

The majority of UK apprentices are being trained specifically for engineering related roles and undergo three-and-a-half to four-year training programmes. Many apprentices also progress to study bachelors and masters degrees and the company is also now able to offer direct entry into new degree apprenticeships, which last four to five years.

At BAE Systems in the UK, 26 per cent of the most recent apprentice intake are women and three-and-a-half per cent are from ethnic minority groups. It is hoped that higher numbers will join this year.

Over recent years BAE Systems has developed a number of education projects with local schools and colleges that are designed to appeal specifically to girls and young people from ethnic minorities.

Nigel Whitehead, group managing director at BAE Systems, said: ‘This is a really exciting time to join BAE Systems as an apprentice. We offer a unique training experience and unrivalled opportunities to progress through our organisation regardless of background.

‘Many of our senior directors began their careers as apprentices and we pride ourselves on rewarding ability and commitment.

‘The quality of the training we are able to offer also reflects the dedication of the hundreds of BAE Systems employees who train apprentices in the workplace – passing on their unique knowledge, expertise and experience to the next generation.’

The closing date is February 28. For more, go to baesystems.com