Apprentices are battling it out in national contest

SKILLED Apprentice Billy Readings welding at BAE Systems at Portsmouth Naval Base
SKILLED Apprentice Billy Readings welding at BAE Systems at Portsmouth Naval Base

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APPRENTICES from defence and engineering firms in the wider Portsmouth region are going to be among more than 1,000 battling it out to be named the best.

The Brathay Apprentice Challenge 2014 is now under way.

It sees more than 110 teams from across England fighting to be crowned the apprentice team of the year.

There are 23 teams entered from the south, including teams from Babcock Training; Defence Munitions Gosport; IBM; QinetiQ and BAE Systems.

Supported by the National Apprenticeship Service, the Brathay Apprentice Challenge offers an enhanced apprenticeship, giving apprentices the chance to improve their team building, logistical, leadership and community skills.

Matthew Hancock MP, Skills and Enterprise minister, said: ‘The breadth and depth of teams signed up for the apprentice team of the year contest demonstrates the diversity of apprenticeships now on offer – and the commitment of the country’s leading employers to hiring apprentices.

‘Hiring apprentices helps businesses to grow their own talent by developing a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce and I look forward to hearing about the contribution the Brathay Apprentice Challenge teams make to their employers and their local communities.’

Consisting of nine apprentices, the teams will spread the word about apprenticeships through school visits, media interviews and social media activity and will take on a local community project before the end of March.

Finalists will be announced in April at the House of Commons before going on to compete in further activities prior to the national finals in June 2014.

Godfrey Owen, chief executive of Brathay Trust, which organises the competition, said: ‘With each year the calibre and number of teams competing increases making this year – our third – the toughest challenge yet.

‘We look forward to welcoming the finalists once again to our headquarters in Ambleside for the grand final of the challenge.’