Portsmouth apprentices were all hands on deck for navy job swap day

EXPERT engineers from the Royal Navy swapped jobs with BAE Systems apprentices for a day at Portsmouth Naval Base.

Wednesday, 6th April 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 6th April 2016, 2:46 pm
Royal Navy engineers swapped jobs with BAE Systems apprentices for a day at Portsmouth Naval Base

Six BAE second-year engineering apprentices took their tools on board Type 23 frigate HMS Kent before roles were reversed at the company’s skills development centre where six navy technicians tested their skills on a virtual welding machine.

On board HMS Kent, the BAE students toured the engine room and weapon spaces and were shown how the navy carries out daily maintenance checks.

And back in the classroom the day concluded with a joint exercise to identify and fix mechanical and electrical faults in motor pumps.

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Dan Rawcliffe, 18, is one of BAE Systems’ second-year engineering advanced apprentices, based in Portsmouth.

He joined the defence giant straight from Portchester Community School and is now specialising in mechanical engineering, putting his skills to good use on the programme to improve the Royal Navy’s Hunt-class minehunters.

Dan said: ‘It was great to be able to go on board HMS Kent and see how training conditions on board a Type 23 frigate differ to ours in the skills development centre.

‘The enclosed spaces that the Royal Navy train in are very different from the open-plan environment we’re in and we all recognised how different the tools are we use, theirs being mainly hand tools compared to our more hi-tech machinery.’

Commander Sarah Johns, who oversees education and apprenticeships in the navy, said the job swap was a great success.

‘The navy is committed to providing valuable qualifications as part of the training and experience gained by its personnel,’ she added.

‘Apprenticeships have provided the foundation for this “qualifications journey” for over a decade, and now all recruits have the opportunity to complete an intermediate apprenticeship as part of their initial training, with subsequent opportunities through their career.’

BAE is set to welcome 56 engineering and project management apprentices in September to train at the company’s Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight centres.

They will work on projects including the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers, Type 45 destroyers and 
BAE Systems’ cutting-edge radar systems.