Expert advice for BAE Systems’ apprentices

Training: Callum James
Training: Callum James
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Apprentices preparing for a skills events are being trained by their colleagues who have been there before.

Four apprentices from BAE Systems’ Military Air and Information (MAI) business will compete in the national finals of the WorldSkills UK competition today.

They will compete against the best in Britain at computer aided design (CAD) and CNC milling where they will be expected to show how quickly and accurately they can complete a complex piece of work against a tight deadline.

In a bid to best prepare the youngsters for the heat of competition, a number of ex-apprentices who competed at previous World Skills competitions have been mentoring this year’s hopefuls.

Callum James, 19, of Longridge, who is a support engineer on the F-35 Lightning II programme at its Samlesbury site, said the support of the tutors had been “a massive help” to his preparation.

Pav Bhogal, who competed in the CAD competition in 2012 and made it through to squad selection for the UK team, has been working with Callum and fellow competitor Adam Websdell. He said: “When you only have six hours to complete a piece of work which would normally take you much longer to do, if something goes wrong you can find yourself with zero time to put it right. Handling that pressure is something that only comes with experience, so if myself and the others who have been in the competition before can help our guys get an idea of what that is all about, it will only help them.”

To prepare the competitors further, a mock competition was held at MAI’s training centre in Preston.

Manufacturing Functional Director, Dave Holmes, said: “If our people can get the experience of working in competition conditions, it can only benefit them in the workplace.”