We have offered industrial placements and the occasional internship for a number of years but 2013 saw us partner with our sector skills council SEMTA to deliver a structured, meaningful and joined-up BAE Systems Summer Internship programme for the first time.
Between July 1st and September 20th 2013 we opened our doors to 105 undergraduates and graduates across business, engineering and finance disciplines. The programme was certified by EAL meaning that there was a strong focus on development. The interns started their internship with a local induction and were provided with a development log in the first week to record their objectives and their learning over the coming weeks. They were expected to have weekly conversations about their progress with their managers and a more formal mid-placement review. A group of interns organised an end-internship virtual conference to share experiences and in their final week they had an end-internship review culminating in them being awarded a rating and receiving an EAL certificate after their time with us.
Our interns worked across a number of functions including Business Development, Communications, Consulting, Engineering (e.g. Aeronautical, Maintenance, Mechanical, Naval Architecture, Photonics, Software, Systems), IT, HR, Legal, Manufacturing, Procurement and Project Management helping us to deliver the full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, along with information technology, cyber security and support services.
As a result, the variety of projects they worked on was equally vast. All internships were designed to provide the interns with experience on real projects aimed at improving the intern’s subject matter knowledge and personal competencies (i.e. influencing, driving growth, team working, self-confidence, self-management, problem solving and understanding our organisation) thus enhancing their overall employability skills.
Our UK skills strategy, Skills 2020, and our Early Career programmes play a key role in helping to meet future skills capability requirements. BAE Systems cannot simply recruit from the market the skills it needs for complex programmes like the Astute nuclear submarine or Typhoon combat aircraft and has to develop these starting with our early career opportunities, of which the Summer Interns play a key role. The programme can only help us to get the next generation of people in to our company. Through enabling our interns to have an insight in to the inspiring work we do, we hope that many will go on to join us on a permanent basis and the interns who are rated outstanding have the opportunity to bi-pass stages of the graduate recruitment process. We have seen a number of interns take up this opportunity, demonstrating the positive effect.
Although we did not win the overall category award this is still great recognition for the programme we offered.