BAE Systems has announced that it is currently training an unprecedented 2,036 apprentices across its UK-based defence and security businesses – equivalent to around 6% of its 34,000 UK employees.
According to BAE Systems, this is the largest ever number in the company’s history, surpassing an original target to train 2,000 apprentices in 2018. In addition, BAE Systems has also announced plans to recruit an additional 574 apprentices to join in September 2017.
The figures reflect the need for a continuous pipeline of highly skilled employees trained by the company in-house; particularly to work on two concurrent submarine programmes at Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria.
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This year 293 apprentices will join the Barrow shipyard to work on the new Dreadnought class submarines and the four remaining Astute class submarines. Both types of submarine are destined for the Royal Navy, with work on the Dreadnought programme expected to continue well into the 2030s.
The number of apprentices in the business also reflects the value of apprentices’ contribution to BAE Systems’ UK businesses overall and the continued success of the apprentice training scheme. The majority of UK apprentices are being trained specifically for engineering-related roles and undergo three and a half to four-year training programmes. Many apprentices also progress to study Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees and the company is also now able to offer direct entry onto new degree apprenticeships, which last four to five years.
At BAE Systems in the UK, 26% of the most recent apprentice intake are women and 3.5% are from ethnic minority groups. It’s hoped that even higher numbers will join in 2017 as the company strives to achieve better diversity among its engineering population. Over recent years BAE Systems has developed a number of education projects with local schools and colleges that are designed to appeal specifically to girls and young people from ethnic minorities.
Group managing director at BAE Systems, Nigel Whitehead explained: “This is a really exciting time to join BAE Systems as an apprentice. We offer a unique training experience and unrivalled opportunities to progress through our organisation regardless of background.
“Many of our senior directors began their careers as apprentices and we pride ourselves on rewarding ability and commitment. The quality of the training we are able to offer also reflects the dedication of the hundreds of BAE Systems employees who train apprentices in the workplace – passing on their unique knowledge, expertise and experience to the next generation.”
Applications to join the 2017 training programme can be made here. The closing date is February 28, 2017.