This year high numbers of apprentices are needed to train as steelworkers, pipe fabricators, electricians and submarine designers. Mr Whitehead made the announcement at the start of National Apprenticeship Week (6-10 February 2012) – a national initiative which raises the profile of apprenticeships in the UK. BAE Systems has around 1,000 apprentices in training in its three year apprenticeship programme, which has one of the highest completion rates in the engineering sector and was rated Grade 1 – ‘outstanding’ by OFSTED in July 2010. BAE Systems also currently holds the National Apprentice Award for the Macro Employer of the Year.
The numbers of apprentices required at Barrow-in-Furness are necessary to maintain skills unique to the maritime sector and to build all seven nuclear-powered Astute Class submarines. Barrow-in-Furness, which is the UK’s only submarine building yard, is also preparing for Successor – the replacement submarine to the Vanguard Class which is currently scheduled to enter service in 2028. In May 2011, the UK Government gave approval for the early design phase for the programme.
The remaining 129 apprenticeship roles at BAE Systems are located in the Company’s military aircraft business based in Lancashire, its maritime businesses at Portsmouth, Hampshire and Glasgow, Scotland and at its electronics business in Rochester, Kent.
Nigel Whitehead said: “Our apprenticeship programme creates a pipeline of exceptionally talented young engineers who are critical to the long term future of BAE Systems. In tough economic times it is even more important that businesses plan for the long term and continue to invest in skills and developing talent in the workplace.”
Apprentice training is a key element of BAE Systems Skills 2020 programme, which represents the Company’s commitment to ensuring it has the right skills to remain competitive and operate successfully in the UK over the next decade, into 2020 and beyond. BAE Systems invests more than £79M per annum in the UK in education and schools activity, university partnerships and training and development for employees.
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