Nichola Mitchell

Nichola Mitchell, 22, who is now a procurement engineer on the F-35 programme at our Samlesbury site is one of ten in the running to be crowned the City and Guilds Apprenticeship Champion of the Year, which recognises strong advocates of apprenticeships.

She is up against the other finalists in a public vote which runs until next Friday October 11, to clinch the prize which is now in its second year. If she wins, Nichola will follow in the footsteps of Jenny Westworth, another of our apprentices who scooped the prize in 2012.

Nichola said: “It is a huge honour to be shortlisted for the City and Guilds Apprenticeship Champion of the Year, especially when I see the other candidates for this award. Having completed an Advanced Business Administration Apprenticeship at BAE Systems in 2011, I have been a big advocate of apprenticeships, which have given me so much. I hope I can be a positive role model for the apprentices of the future who are looking to take that first step on the career ladder. Now, I need the support of the people of the North West to help me win the public vote.”

The vote runs until 3pm next Friday (11 October) and people can support Nichola’s bid to become a champion by voting at

The top three scoring finalists will be announced on October 14 and will then have five days to push their vote tally to a new high in a bid to be named overall champion.

Jenny Westworth, who has continued her career with us, has continued to promote apprenticeships and recently invited Skills Minister Matthew Hancock to our site at Warton and training school in Preston. She said: “Throughout the year I have spoken at countless events, met senior politicians and used my award to ensure as many young people as possible realise what a positive choice becoming an apprentice is.”

Nichola, who is from Wigan, is not the only BAE Systems former apprentice up for an award at the prize-giving with Clitheroe’s Brad Hodgeson a nominee for the Advanced Manufacturing Apprentice of the Year category.

We are now beginning our search for our 2014 apprentice intake. We are hosting with open evenings at Blackpool FC on Wednesday October 9, Blackburn Rovers FC on Thursday October 10, and Preston North End FC on Monday October 14, all events run from 4pm-8pm.