Lancashire's aerospace giant presses on with record intake of apprentices
Lancashire's largest aerospace firm has said it will take on a record 800 new apprentices, despite the coronavirus lockdown.
BAE Systems said more than 9,000 hopefuls applied for the 800 places in this year's intake process which began in February and now more than 2,000 have been shortlisted for interviews.
However, due to the Covid-19 conditions, these are likely to take place virtually.
The successful applicants will begin their careers on one of more than 25 apprenticeship training programmes in the company's air, maritime and electronic systems divisions, with the majority joining from September to January.
Apprentices could find themselves playing a role in developing future combat air technologies for the Tempest programme in Warton.
They could also work on the design and build of Dreadnought submarines in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, or Type 26 frigates in Glasgow.
Others will have roles working alongside the Armed Forces at RAF Coningsby or Portsmouth Naval Base but more than 70 per cent will be based in the North of England after training at the firm's two Academies for Skills & Knowledge at Samlesbury, or Barrow-in-Furness. The pair represent a £40m investment in training for the future.
The apprentices will train in a number of disciplines including engineering, manufacturing, project management, finance, business administration and IT.
Approximately 95 per cent successfully complete their training and BAE Systems apprentices have a strong track record of enjoying long careers with good progression in the company.
Charles Woodburn, Chief Executive, BAE Systems, said: “Getting people back to work and creating new jobs, especially for younger people, is a national priority and we’re pleased to play our part in supporting the UK’s economic recovery.
"The contribution apprentices make to our business is vital in maintaining our ability to continue to deliver cutting edge technologies which protect national security.
"We’ve worked hard to adapt our application and training processes to allow education to continue, whilst protecting the health and well-being of our employees and new recruits.”
BAE Systems is also running a recently introduced graduate programme, with multiple intakes through the year. Applications have remained open throughout this period and the firm said it was committed to its plan to recruit 250 graduates between September this year and June 2021.
Gavin Williamson CBE MP, Secretary of State for Education, said: “It is brilliant to see BAE Systems’ continued support for apprenticeships, recognising the hard work, skills and value that apprentices bring to a world-leading British company.
“BAE Systems’ recruitment of 800 apprentices is yet more evidence that apprenticeships are an excellent choice for young people and shows that they are an excellent route into a wide range of high-quality and exciting careers.
"I am certain that apprenticeships will play a vital role in our economic recovery from coronavirus."