We welcome new apprenticeship trailblazers which set the standard for apprenticeships

BAE Systems logo centered on a light blue background
BAE Systems welcomes the launch of seven Aerospace and Airworthiness trailblazer standards for UK apprenticeships, announced today by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). The new standards for apprenticeships ensure consistent, high standards for apprentices in the sector.

BAE Systems worked together with other leading employers in the Aerospace and Airworthiness sectors to design and develop the new Aerospace and Airworthiness Apprenticeship Trailblazer Standards. The new standards will shape the future of apprenticeships and meet the needs of large companies and SMEs as well as providing a range of flexible pathways into work and careers in our sector for young people.
Skills Minister Nick Boles MP said:
“Apprenticeships are a real success story. Through giving leading employers such as BAE Systems the power to design and deliver high quality apprenticeships we can give young people the skills our economy vitally needs. I congratulate BAE Systems and members of the Aerospace and Airworthiness Trailblazers on their involvement in designing the new apprenticeships which we have published today.”


A key feature of the new standards is that for the first time they align competence on completion for the Level 3 (A Level equivalent programmes) to the Engineering Council’s Engineering Technician level.  They also see the introduction of two new Degree Apprenticeship standards that will allow apprentices to take degree level qualifications as part of their apprenticeships. In this way they provide an innovative alternative to the traditional university route to higher education level qualifications.
Nigel Whitehead, BAE Systems Group Managing Director said:
“BAE Systems has long been committed to delivering high quality apprenticeships and we are delighted the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills has announced their approval of all five of the Apprenticeship Standards and both of the Degree Apprenticeship Standards. This places the Aerospace sector in a strong position to offer a range of Apprenticeship programmes to meet the skills and capability needs of the future. Equally, it will ensure that apprentices are learning skills that employers value, thus providing them a great launchpad for their careers”.

Launched in October 2013, the Trailblazers initiative is designed to ensure that every apprentice in England is enrolled on a scheme that has been designed and approved by employers.  BAE Systems and other companies in our sector supported the effort by providing short, easy to understand documents that describe the level of skill, knowledge and competency required to achieve the required standard of skill in a specific occupation.  As a result, apprenticeships will be based on standards designed by employers to meet their needs, the needs of their sector and the economy more widely.

The apprenticeship standards have been developed as part of the Aerospace Growth Partnership, which is seeing employers in the sector work together to meet the long term skills needs. The new standards approved today by BIS include:

  •  Airworthiness Planning, Quality & Safety Technician Standard
  • Aircraft Maintenance Certifying Engineer (Fixed and Rotary Wing) Standard
  • Survival Equipment Fitter Standard
  • Aviation Maintenance Mechanic (Military) Standard
  • Machinist – Advanced Manufacturing Engineering Standard
  • Aerospace Engineer Standard
  • Aerospace Software Development Engineer Standard

In addition to the 7 Aerospace and Airworthiness Standards, BAE Systems was also part of the Maritime Defence Trailblazer group that had their Maritime Mechanical Fitter Standard approved. The Company also support the development by the Defence Growth Partnership of the innovative Systems Engineering Masters (Level 7) Standard.
Notes to Editors

  • BAE Systems worked together with other employers in the Aerospace and Airworthiness sector, along with Professional Engineering Institutions.  The employers supporting the Aerospace Standards are Airbus, AgustaWestland, GE Aviation, GKN, Magellan, Rolls Royce, Marshall ADG, GTA England & National Federation of Engineering Centres and Airworthiness standards are RAF/MoD, AQMS, Harrods Aviation, Gama Aviation, NAL Jets, Inflite MRO Services, Saxon Air, Virgin Atlantic, Marshalls ADG, Baines Simmons,  London Executive Aviation, Monarch, British Business General Aviation and Civil Aviation Authority. 
  •  BAE Systems is one of the biggest employers of apprentices in the UK, with an annual £80m investment in education and skills. In 2015 the Company will recruit a record number of more than 800 apprentices. 
  • BAE Systems Apprenticeship scheme, which has one of the highest completion rates in the engineering sector, was rated Grade 1 – ‘outstanding’ by OFSTED in July 2010 and won the National Apprentice Award for the ‘Macro Employer of the Year’ in 2011. 
  • Many apprentices study for an academic qualification one day a week alongside their apprenticeship, allowing them to gain a university-equivalent degree in a specific specialism. 
  • The Company is actively encouraging more women to apply for apprenticeship programmes this year to improve the gender balance of its apprenticeship populations. In 2014, women accounted for 17 percent of apprentice places and the goal is to improve on this in 2015.

For more information about BAE Systems’ apprentices please visit: