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The first cohort of 76 engineers from BAE Systems will begin the academic element of their level 7 apprenticeship programme on 8 January 2018, undertaking modules including design-driven innovation, operations management and cost engineering. Modules will be carried out alongside the graduate engineers’ day-to-day roles within the business.
Teaching will be delivered entirely online, through a combination of interactive video sessions with Cranfield’s academics and remote online learning platforms, to provide the graduate engineers with the flexibility to study and acquire a Masters-level qualification without taking time out from work. On successful completion, the apprentices will obtain a Post-Graduate Diploma in Engineering Competence – a key step towards reaching Chartered Engineering (CEng) accreditation.
Already one of the largest recruiters of apprentices in the UK, BAE Systems has further expanded its wide range of apprenticeship schemes by offering this new programme to post-graduates across the business, as the company seeks to attract talent from the widest cross section of society. Further to the post-graduate apprentices, the defence company recruited just under 600 apprentices across its wider apprenticeships schemes in 2017 and reported record numbers of both female apprentices and apprentices with disabilities – making up 27% and 15% of recruits respectively. In addition, 18% of recruits came from the most socially deprived areas of the UK.
Those interested in applying for an apprenticeship at BAE Systems this year can choose from approximately 650 apprenticeship training places, including 120 at post-graduate level, which are now open to applicants. This supports BAE Systems’ contribution to the 2018 Year of Engineering, in which the company is joining forces with government and industry to give thousands of young people direct experience of engineering to help tackle the skills gap and widen the pool of young people who join the profession.
Richard Hamer, Director of Education and Skills at BAE Systems, said:
“We’re excited to be the trailblazer for this new qualification and we’re delighted that our graduate engineers are able to partner with such a prestigious institution as Cranfield. As part of our ongoing commitment to nurture talent and high-end skills, the postgraduate diploma in engineering competence will allow our graduate engineers to apply their learning in a work-based context, with the assessment focused on competency rather than academic ability.”
Professor Rajkumar Roy, Director of Manufacturing at Cranfield University, said:
“This innovative programme further strengthens Cranfield’s masters-level apprenticeship offering. Through online delivery, engineers will be able to study through both live interactive and ‘on-demand’ sessions. Working in partnership with BAE Systems allows us to tailor our educational programme to meet the needs of engineers and industry.”
Cranfield University is one of only five UK universities to have a strategic partnership with BAE Systems and is the first university in England to deliver Masters level apprenticeships.
Rebecca Jaggon, 22, and Christian Balan, 24, are among the first students to start the Level 7 Post-Graduate Apprenticeship at BAE Systems.
Rebecca Jaggon, Graduate Systems Engineer in Electronic Systems at BAE Systems, said:
“I had just started the graduate scheme within BAE Systems when in September last year I was made aware of the academic opportunity with Cranfield University and was thrilled, as I was interested in completing another qualification but didn’t want to take time out of work to study. The new programme offers the best of both, as the virtual learning programmes and lectures offer the flexibility to fit studying in around my current work schedule, while also enabling me to apply that knowledge directly to my day-to-day role within the Electronic Systems business.”
Christian Balan, Aircraft Maintenance & Support Graduate in BAE Systems Air sector, said:
“Having already completed a Master’s Degree in Aeronautical Engineering at Imperial College London, I was looking for something that would further develop and hone my skills whilst pursuing a structured development framework towards the CEng accreditation. The post-graduate apprenticeship scheme with BAE Systems and Cranfield University immediately felt like the right fit for me, offering a wider variety of modules and learning opportunities in areas adjacent to standard engineering subjects. Ultimately this opportunity allows me to carry out my current role within the Military Air business, whilst merging the invaluable experiences gathered on the job with the academic excellence of the university.
“The modules available to me will also help bring me closer to my ultimate goal of achieving a Chief Engineering qualification with Royal Aeronautical Society, for which a wider range of technical skills and competences should be complemented by an accountable, well-rounded engineer.”

Distribution of current Level 7 post-graduate apprentices across BAE Systems 2017/18:
  • Maritime – 33 (New Malden, Frimley, Dorchester, Portsmouth Naval Base, Cowes, Barrow-in-Furness, Filton)
  • Electronic Systems  – 6 (Rochester)
  • Air – 34 (Warton, Samlesbury, Christchurch, Yeovil, Brough, various RAF bases)
  • Land – 3 (Telford)
Wider BAE Systems apprenticeships open to applicants to start in 2018:
  • Air sector - 9, Brough; 42, Humberside Airport; 109, Samlesbury/Warton; 6, Yeovil. 
  • Electronic Systems – 17, Rochester.
  • Land (UK) – 2, Glascoed, South Wales; 10, Radway Green; 7, Telford; 9, Washington.
  • Maritime - 230, Barrow-in-Furness; 10, Frimley; 40 , Glasgow; 39, Portsmouth.
  • Shared Services - 3, Preston.
  • Post-graduate apprenticeships - 120, Various. 
Diversity & Inclusion
BAE Systems has made prominent efforts to promote diversity and inclusion over the past year, with the introduction of Employee Resource Groups, such as Enabled, which aims to support staff with disabilities and Outlink UK, a resource for LGBT staff. In addition, Diversity and Inclusion Councils are present across all business units – site-based diversity councils made up of employees who want to help foster inclusion as a culture and support engagement strategy to attract and retain top talent.
Cranfield University
Cranfield is an exclusively postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.
We provide world-class and niche research, education, training and consultancy in manufacturing and play a key role in ensuring that the UK remains at the cutting edge of manufacturing research.
We are unique in our multi-disciplinary approach by bringing together design, technology and management insight. We are a driving force for both the rapid growth of established areas of manufacturing expertise and the development of new research areas.
Research partnerships are undertaken with more than 500 organisations of all sizes and disciplines and industry advisory panels ensure our graduates move seamlessly from the academic world into the world of work and provide skills the sector needs.
Our world-class facilities include the Ultra Precision Machining Laboratory, which houses a range of ultra-precision diamond turning machines and is the UK's national facility for large x-ray optics manufacture.
We lead two ESPRC centres for Innovation Manufacturing in Ultra Precision and Through-life Engineering Services.
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