Apprentices will stay on despite closure

ANGER Workers leaving the dockyards
ANGER Workers leaving the dockyards
A Merlin helicopter from Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose has been training with HMS Queen Elizabeth in Portsmouth Naval Base as part of her Rotary Wing Trials

Helicopter puts flight deck crew through its paces

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APPRENTICES who have been learning highly prized engineering skills while they work on parts of aircraft carriers will keep their jobs.

This year BAE Systems announced its largest intake of apprentices since 2008, offering work to 400 trainees across its business in 2013.

Of those, 125 were due to be split between the firm’s Glasgow and Portsmouth shipyards, as well as some training with the usually-secretive combat systems business based in Broad Oak, Hilsea.

They only began their training two months ago.

BAE Systems yesterday confirmed to The News that between 80 and 90 apprentices it is currently employing in shipbuilding will be redeployed into the firm’s maritime services business.

A spokeswoman for BAE Systems said: ‘BAE Systems remains committed to ensuring that all current apprentices in Portsmouth have the opportunity to complete their apprenticeship training.’

Combat systems engineers design the brains of every ship built for the navy.

They have worked on the Type 45 destroyers and the aircraft carriers.

The company announced that, despite moving its shipbuilding businesses wholly to Scotland, it would be working hard to retain vital skills in this area.

Previously, BAE Systems group managing director Nigel Whitehead, said: ‘Our continued commitment to the apprentice programme reflects the sustainable position of our UK business and the success of the programme in generating BAE Systems’ workforce of the future.’