Apprenticeship leadership

Posted on 20 Jul 2010 by The Manufacturer

On the first day of Farnborough Airshow, the world’s largest aviation trade event, BAE Systems announces its Ofsted apprenticeship success.

BAE Systems, the UK’s biggest defence and security company which employs over 107,000 staff worldwide, has achieved Grade 1 Ofsted status for their UK apprenticeship programme.

Following Secretary of State for Business Vince Cable’s opening speech at the Show, which called for more young people to consider the aerospace industry as a career destination, BAE announced its achievement of Grade 1 Ofsted status.

The ‘outstanding’ rating attributed by the government’s education watchdog, the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills is proof of the company’s commitment to the provision of skills for future strength in UK industry.

The Ofsted report stated that apprentices on the BAE apprenticeship programme “gain exceptional technical and employment skills” and that “engineering success rates have improved consistently over the past three years and are well above the national average.” The rigorous OFSTED audit involved eight inspectors interviewing 153 apprentices and 146 supervisors and training managers at BAE Systems facilities including Barrow-in-Furness, Preston, Doncaster, Brough and Rochester. The inspectors assessed the quality of learning provision as well as safety management and equality and diversity opportunities.

As a Company reliant on a strong pipeline of engineering talent, BAE Systems runs one of the largest apprenticeship schemes in the UK, with more than 1,000 young people currently in training on programmes that can last up to three and a half years. Typically a year is spent in college and the remaining time is dedicated to gaining practical experience at work.

The business support skills development at a number of different levels including: craft, technician and business apprentices and offers the opportunity to combine practical experience with academic learning including degree level opportunities for high flying talent.

Commenting on the OFSTED rating, Nigel Whitehead, BAE Systems Group Managing Director, Programmes & Support said: “The OFSTED result is a source of enormous pride for the Company, our apprentices and their training managers. Apprenticeships make excellent business sense for BAE Systems with the cost of our investment in their training and development repaid within one year of completion of their apprenticeship.” He added: “Apprenticeships are a vital part of our Skills 2020 strategy which aims to ensure BAE Systems has the right skills to operate and compete effectively in 2020.”

BAE has an impressive history of achievement from its apprentices, many of whom have been awarded national awards for their demonstration of talent and commitment to professional development. This year BAE apprentice Kai Burkitt was awarded the Composites UK Trainee of the Year and Philippa Wilson, currently working as a Manufacturing Engineer for the F-35 Lightning II aircraft programme in Warton, Lancashire, was last week highly commended in the Advanced Apprentice of the Year category of the National Apprenticeship awards 2010, an event organised by the National Apprenticeship Service.