The defence manufacturer will recruit 265 apprentices across its UK business in 2012, down from the 290 apprentices it hired last year.
The announcement coincides with the start of National Apprenticeship Week, 6-10 February 2012, and includes 136 new apprenticeship starts at its submarine building business in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.
The ship yard’s intake is the highest for five years, with apprentices needed to train as steelworkers, pipe fabricators, electricians and submarine designers to meet demand for the seven nuclear-powered Astute Class submarines.
Barrow-in-Furness, which is the UK’s only submarine building yard, is also preparing for Successor – the replacement submarine to the Vanguard Class which is currently scheduled to enter service in 2028. In May 2011, the UK government gave approval for the early design phase for the programme.
The remaining 129 apprenticeship roles at BAE Systems are at the company’s military aircraft business based in Lancashire, its maritime businesses at Portsmouth and Glasgow and at its electronics business in Rochester, Kent.
Mr Whitehead said: “Our apprenticeship programme creates a pipeline of exceptionally talented young engineers who are critical to the long term future of BAE Systems. In tough economic times it is even more important that businesses plan for the long term and continue to invest in skills and developing talent in the workplace.”
BAE Systems currently holds the National Apprentice Award for the Macro Employer of the Year.