BAE Systems will be recruiting 290 apprentices for its UK business in 2011, the same number of apprentices it recruited in 2010.
With more than 1,000 apprentices in training across the company’s UK sites at any one time, BAE Systems runs one of the UK’s largest training schemes. Apprentices have the opportunity to work on some of the most complex and large-scale engineering programmes in the country, including the Astute attack submarine, the Typhoon aircraft programme and the Type 45 anti-aircraft destroyer.
Most of BAE Systems’ apprentices are between the ages of 16 and 21 but the company also runs an apprentice training programme suitable for adults at Robin Hood airport in Doncaster, UK.
“We are rightly proud of our apprentices and the hard work they do to help shape the future of the company. If a rebalanced economy with a thriving manufacturing sector is to become a reality in the UK, industry and government need to work together to encourage firms to take on apprentices and renew the pool of talent,” says Nigel Whitehead, group managing director of Programmes and Support, who started his career as an engineering apprentice.
The company invests around £84,000 in each apprentice over the course of their three year training programme, which sees them achieve a NVQ level three upon completion. Many apprentices take up further study, such as HNC and HND qualifications, and on average the company supports over 20 apprentices each year to study for degrees in subjects such as systems, electronics and mechanical engineering.
Dominic Hurrell, 24, joined BAE Systems as an advanced apprentice in 2006 after deciding he needed a more hands-on learning experience than university could provide. He has since won several awards for excelling in his chosen field of electronics engineering, including UK Apprentice of the Year in 2009. He has been taken on by the company as an assistant production engineer in its Platform Solutions business.
“I realised that what I valued most was learning through technical experience. I also found that I was struggling with the student loan system. I wanted a role where I could do practical learning, achieve my ambitions in engineering and earn money at the same time,” he says.
“I really took to the style of learning and enjoyed my course, alongside a great team of other apprentices and trainers. My current role involves supporting a wide range of military and civil products that are currently in service across the world. I find this both a challenging and rewarding job that the apprenticeship helped me prepare for.”
Hurrell is now looking to continue his studies including working towards a foundation degree and then on to a full degree.
Alongside career progression, job security sounds positive too: a study of 200 apprentices who had joined BAE Systems in 2002 showed that seven years on, 95 per cent were still employed by the company.