BAE Systems’ apprenticeship programs provide just that opportunity. Take our Apprentice Program at our Norfolk Ship Repair facility in Virginia. Here we have a strong grasp on what it takes to train someone to become a master craftsperson in a shipyard and future leader in the maritime industry. Our apprentices gain the necessary tools to succeed during our program and after they leave it. In fact, many of our graduates have risen to executive and supervisory positions within the company today.
“You have a spotlight on you, they look at you to be a leader,” says new NSR Apprentice Antoine Badger. “It is a very fulfilling experience to be in the program. I am ten times better off than where I was working for another company as a materials handler building trains.”
Our Norfolk program first started in 1936 and offers a mix of classroom instruction and on-the-job training. Like other apprentice programs, this one takes people with little or no trade skills, allowing them to be students while working in their shipyard area of expertise. The goal is to obtain a state-certified journeyman’s card. BAE Systems’ apprenticeship provides the training and skills in four years that would be otherwise take a new employee nearly 20 years to obtain.
“I’m here to better myself,” says Steven Yewcic, craft supervisor and graduate of the apprentice program. “I took full advantage of the opportunity for growth and development. Overall, I am advancing my position in the company.”
Apprenticeships provide people with options after high school, allowing for other avenues for a higher education and a satisfying and successful career. The value of the option is demonstrated by high schools which have implemented a “signing day” for those going into trade work, somewhat replicating how student athletes commit to a collegiate sports. Two Richmond, Va. high school graduates recently signed to join our Norfolk shipyard program this fall.
Another benefit of our program is that apprentices earn college credits at a local community college, while working a normal 40-hour work week with full time pay and benefits. “It’s a trifecta as I like to say. You’re making money, learning a skill, the company is paying for your schooling, and you get a state-certified journeyman’s card that is with you for the rest of your life,” says Gary Green, an NSR apprentice graduate who is now a ship superintendent working on a U.S. Navy guided-missile cruiser. “You can’t beat that.”
Our program accommodates individuals, single parents or families where both parents work. Having the opportunity to work and receive some education while still being able to move up the corporate ladder is a feat that some people desire. With this program, it leaves the door wide open just for that.
“I chose this program to advance my career,” says new welding apprentice Stacy Harris. “BAE Systems has allowed me to be a mom and have a career - they give you that opportunity.”
BAE Systems is a leader in repairing U.S. Navy ships. Norfolk, Va. is one of the Navy’s largest homeports. Our apprenticeship program consists of 14 different fields to choose from, such as electrician, pipefitting and welding.
Typically, applicants apply from April to June each year. Those selected for the program will begin in August. The NSR program requires potential participants to be 18 years old at the hiring point, have a high school diploma or a G.E.D, and qualify on the Virginia Placement test administered by Tidewater Community College.
To apply for the Apprentice Program at Norfolk Ship Repair, go to jobs.baesystems.com and type “apprentice” in the search engine. Applying is the first step toward reaching your goals and aspirations.