Lancashire business leader says investing in young people can help nation's economy recover

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A director of one of Lancashire’s biggest employers has urged businesses to commit to supporting the county’s young people throughout the challenges of coronavirus.

Dave Holmes, Manufacturing Director at BAE Systems Air, which employs around 10,000 people at its sites in Warton and Samlesbury, said investing in skills would be a key part of the national recovery from the pandemic.

Last week, BAE Systems committed recruiting around 200 apprentices in Lancashire working on programmes including Tempest, the next generation combat aircraft which will be flown by the RAF.

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BAE Systems is sponsoring the Most Inspiring Young Person category at this year’s Be Inspired Business Awards, The BIBAs, as part of its commitment to the BIBAs Foundation, a fund which supports initiatives which foster enterprise among Lancashire’s young people.

Dave Holmes of BAE SystemsDave Holmes of BAE Systems
Dave Holmes of BAE Systems

Mr Holmes said: “The contribution our apprentices make is vital to ensuring we can deliver on our commitments on programmes which protect our national security both today and in the future.

“We are pleased to be able to commit to continuing our recruitment plans and we recognise that getting people back to work and creating jobs, especially for our young people, is a national priority.

"As well as committing to our own programmes, we are working with our suppliers and the Government to do all we can to support other businesses to continue to back our young people even at this most challenging time.”

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He added that the company’s early careers teams have developed new ways to enable candidates – most of whom are aged between 16 and 19 – to be interviewed safely and remotely.

The BIBAs has extended its deadline for businesses to apply to its 20 prize categories until the end of July.