Young hopefuls visit base to see what life is like as an apprentice at BAE Systems

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HUNDREDS of young hopefuls got a taste of work life behind the scenes at a major defence firm.

BAE Systems in Portsmouth invited the prospective jobhunters to have a look around its base as it searches for more than 50 apprentices to start in September.

(Left to right) Second year apprentice Owen Cranstone with students Naomi Muyembe and Rob Santy.  Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (170052-4)

(Left to right) Second year apprentice Owen Cranstone with students Naomi Muyembe and Rob Santy. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (170052-4)

The drive is the largest held by the company, which currently has 2,036 apprentices in training nationally, equating to six per cent of its 34,000-strong workforce.

It is looking to recruit an extra 574 apprentices across the country.

Yesterday was the first of two open days to be held at the base, with the second due to take place today.

Vaughan Meir, head of engineering at BAE Systems in Portsmouth, was speaking to the interested apprentices.

He said: ‘We require many different skills as we look forward. We have quite a challenge today in terms of the demographics of our business because there was a time when industries across the UK were not recruiting apprentices, so now there’s a real drive to bridge that gap and build those skills.’

Also talking to the hopefuls and telling them about day-to-day life on the job were dozens of apprentices already enrolled on places at the firm.

Travis Bench-Oliver, 17, from Gosport, is in his second year of a fabricator apprenticeship, along with Sophie Stewart, 18, from Fareham.

Sophie said: ‘It’s amazing. I’m on a placement and getting hands-on experience while getting paid. You get to do different things every day, it’s always new and always interesting.’

Naomi Muyembe, 17, from Southsea, who is studying business at Highbury College, was on one of the tours.

She said: ‘I am interested in the project management apprenticeship, I think apprenticeships are good because university might not be right for everyone.’

For more go to baesystems.com/en/careers/careers-in-the-uk/apprenticeships/apply-now. The closing date is February 28.