BAE Systems boosts skills in the North West

Posted on 11 Mar 2015 by Jonny Williamson

Following a year of training at BAE Systems’ training school in Preston, Lancashire, 21 engineers and manufacturing apprentices have moved in to 12 companies throughout the region.

The apprentices, who started training as part of the Employee Ownership Pilot programme set up to boost skills in supply chain companies and part-funded by Government, have now moved to the workplaces of their parent companies with a further 10 apprentices now in training at the training centre.

Later this year, the second cohort will join the workforces of companies throughout the region with a third cohort due to start at the centre from September.

Ben Farnsworth a technical apprentice is now working for Techni-Grind (Machining), a company based in Preston which provides precision machining for components used by aerospace firms across the globe including BAE Systems.

Ben Farnsworth, technical apprentice, Techni-Grind (Machining).

Noting that being a small business, Techni-Grind wasn’t in a position to set up such an apprenticeship independently, its shop floor manager, Dennis Boyle commented: “[Farnsworth] has brought skills to our business which have helped to boost our productivity and efficiency.

“The training he’s received at the Preston Training Centre has been invaluable to both Ben and our business, and the support that BAE continues to offer us has been first-class.”

Last month, Farnsworth’s work was recognised when he was awarded an Outstanding Achievement Award by a First Year Apprentice at the regional finals of the Engineering Employers’ Federation Future Manufacturing Awards.

The team behind the Preston Training Centre was also named Training Provider of the Year at the North West Aerospace Alliance New Talent Awards.

Andy Bloor, head of early careers for BAE’s Military Air and Information (MAI) business, said: “The training we offer gives our recruits the chance to learn from senior engineers and gain invaluable experience working on cutting-edge products, to further advance their careers.

“We recognise the importance of supporting the companies in our supply chain and the vital contribution that apprentices make to the future of our industry.”

For the first time BAE is offering a Higher Apprenticeship qualification in engineering which has attracted more than 400 applications to join the September intake.

The Higher Apprenticeship is a five-year scheme which enables apprentices to earn an honours degree in either Aerospace Engineering or Aerospace Software Development.