An apprentice at BAE Systems has cut the first steel for a new main section of HMS Prince of Wales, the second Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier.
Centre Block 02 contains part of the aircraft hangar that will one day store the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft, as well as accommodation, recreational facilities, a laundry and bakery.
The block will be placed above Lower Block 02, which is also currently under construction in Portsmouth.
The symbolic first steel cut is traditionally performed by senior members of the Royal Navy, but 21-year old fabricator Shaun Collins was given the honour after receiving a Personal Achievement Award at the BAE Systems UK Apprentice Awards.
In November 2012 another BAE Systems apprentice, Sean Gallagher, won The Manufacturer‘s Young Manufacturer of the Year Award. Recently the defence and security systems giant said it would break its own record for recruiting apprentices in 2013.
Interested in skills?
The Manufacturer is holding an event titled ‘Future Factory: Driving Skills Development in the Workforce’ on February 26 in London.