Hopefuls pack into Portsmouth dockyard to hear how to bag coveted apprenticeships at BAE Systems 

Group Captain Eddie Cole, regional commandant of the South West RAF Air Cadets, Matt Gordon, BAE Systems Head of Early Careers,  and second year Advanced Apprentice (Electrical) Charlie New at BAE Systems' apprentice open day
Group Captain Eddie Cole, regional commandant of the South West RAF Air Cadets, Matt Gordon, BAE Systems Head of Early Careers, and second year Advanced Apprentice (Electrical) Charlie New at BAE Systems' apprentice open day
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MORE than 200 people packed into Portsmouth Naval Base in the hope of bagging a coveted apprenticeship.   

BAE Systems held an open day at its Skills Development Centre as it embarks on an ambitious recruitment drive to find 700 apprentices across the UK. Fifty of those positions will be at the Maritime Services department in Portsmouth. 

Apprentices recruited to work in Portsmouth would be working with the Royal Navy fleet. 

The event, held last Thursday, saw scores of schools and colleges also attend. Hopefuls were able to hear from past and present apprentices, as well as take part in fun, interactive activities.

Matt Gordon, BAE Systems head of early careers, said: ‘Our apprentices and graduates work with some of the world’s most complex warships and submarines, and deliver a range of maritime services such as training solutions and modernisation programmes for ships and equipment.

‘As one of the biggest employers of apprentices and graduates in the UK, we love to welcome potential new recruits from the Solent region to our Skills Development Centre so they can see for themselves just how much we have to offer and the role they could play in supporting the Royal Navy fleet, from small boats to the giant Queen Elizabeth aircraft carriers.’ 

Naval Base Commander Commodore Jim Higham said he was pleased to see such a good turnout.

He said: ‘We’re enormously proud of the training facilities here at Portsmouth Naval Base and it’s always fantastic to see so many enthusiastic young engineers honing their skills in preparation for supporting the fleet in such well-run, state-of-the-art workshops.’ 

Group Captain Eddie Cole, regional commandant of the South West RAF Air Cadets, was also at the event.

He said: ‘Being a member of the air cadets is all about helping young people to realise their potential so it was wonderful so see how BAE Systems is inspiring the next generation of engineers and the opportunities the company offers for the sort of high quality young people we generate, not all of whom wish to pursue a career in the Armed Forces.

‘The Skills Development Centre was very reminiscent of RAF training – well-organised, realistic, staffed by passionate instructors and full of positive, enthusiastic and engaging apprentices. The facility, and the current apprentices and graduates are all extremely impressive and I would like to thank everyone for making me so welcome.’ 

BAE Systems currently employs more than 34,000 people in the UK and is one of the country’s largest employers of engineers.

There will be 78 apprentices taken on in the south, 262 in the north west, 235 in south Cumbria, over 60 in Scotland and 34 in other places.

To apply visit baesystems.com/apprentices before February 28.