One of the top directors at BAE Systems’ military aircraft business has told its next generation of apprentices to aim for the stars.
Steve Timms, managing director of the Defence Information and Training Services (DITS) business, told an audience of aspiring engineers, project managers and business leaders the grounding they will get during their training would set them up for a successful career.
He visited the company’s training centre in Preston during National Apprenticeships Week to describe how he went from starting as a craft apprentice with the firm 1982 to running one of its largest businesses.
It comes as BAE Systems revealed it has received more than 2,000 applications for 94 apprentice positions it will fill at its sites in Warton and Samlesbury.
Mr Timms said: “Some of the things you have to do when you are an apprentice seem a complete pain at the time, but now I look back I can see how they have helped me. “The ability to interact with people whether it is on a shop floor, an office or a boardroom is something you cannot get on without, and I do not think I would be where I am today without these skills I picked up as an apprentice.
“I am not saying it is right for everyone because there are plenty of people who university is the right route, which is why we have graduate opportunities in our business.
“But, for me it was the best grounding I could have hoped for.”
The managing director talked about how his career began as an apprentice coppersmith and progressed to see him work on the Experimental Aircraft Programme (EAP), the technology demonstrator which paved the way for the RAF’s frontline fighter jet, Typhoon.
He later played a leading role in the development of Typhoon before moving on to the Nimrod.