Defence giant BAE Systems pushes ahead with massive apprenticeship recruitment drive in Portsmouth

RECRUITMENT of a ‘record-breaking’ number of new apprentices are pushing ahead in spite of the coronavirus pandemic, a major city employer has insisted.

Tuesday, 16th June 2020, 4:49 pm
Updated Wednesday, 17th June 2020, 11:00 am
An apprentice pictured working at Portsmouth Naval Base. Photo: BAE Systems

BAE Systems is driving forward with its ambition plan to hire the most new apprentices since launching its recruitment scheme for new talent.

The firm is offering 800 apprenticeship positions nationwide, which include dozens of opportunities across Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight.

And more than 9,000 hopefuls have applied for the lucrative roles, which range from working on Royal Navy’s most advanced warships, to crafting new deadly equipment for fighter jets.

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Charles Woodburn, chief executive of BAE – which employs more than 3,300 people across Portsmouth – said new measures had been put in place to protect apprentices from Covid-19 during their training.

He added: ‘Getting people back to work and creating new jobs, especially for younger people, is a national priority and we’re pleased to play our part in supporting the UK’s economic recovery.

‘The contribution apprentices make to our business is vital in maintaining our ability to continue to deliver cutting edge technologies which protect national security.

‘We’ve worked hard to adapt our application and training processes to allow education to continue, whilst protecting the health and wellbeing of our employees and new recruits.’

New measures have already been put in place to interview candidates remotely, to avoid unnecessary contact and travel.

Those who are hired will begin their careers on one of more than 25 apprenticeship training programmes, with the majority joining from September to January.

Education secretary and former defence secretary Gavin Williamson praised the news and said apprenticeships would be key to getting many young people into their first career.

He added: ‘It is brilliant to see BAE Systems’ continued support for apprenticeships, recognising the hard work, skills and value that apprentices bring to a world-leading British company.

‘BAE Systems’ recruitment of 800 apprentices is yet more evidence that apprenticeships are an excellent choice for young people and shows that they are an excellent route into a wide range of high-quality and exciting careers.

‘I am certain that apprenticeships will play a vital role in our economic recovery from coronavirus.’

An army of 1,500 apprentices already on BAE Systems’ books have been supported by the defence firm, through virtual learning programmes.

Additionally, BAE said recruitment for its new graduate programme is still continuing, with plans to recruit 250 university leavers between September and June 2021.

Dozens of one-year industrial placements are also being offered to candidates joining in September.

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