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Continuous 
At Sea Deterrent

Our skills
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Continuous At Sea Deterrent - CASD50 - the longest unbroken operation ever delivered by the UK. It is known as Operation Relentless. Below, you'll find the stories we shared during Week 2.
 

Our Skills

 

 

3: We need you

 
Our Skills CASD50
 
 
Jade, 27, a first year apprentice welder at Barrow, had always known she wanted to work with the Submarines business. Her grandfather was also a welder for what was then Vickers – “there weren’t many female welding apprentices when he worked for the company,” she remembers – and her father also worked for the company.

But Jade had her own reasons for wanting to join.

“BAE Systems is an international business and there is room for your career to grow – the company encourages that. I took a tour and saw the processes on site and the work we have been doing. It is only then you really grasp what is happening here,” she said.

Indeed, now represents one of the most exciting times in the history of our Submarines business. The Academy of Skills and Knowledge is just one part of a substantial overall site investment programme that will provide a range of the newest available facilities to our vast workforce. 
 
Don’t sit on the fence – go for it, because the opportunities are just fantastic and the skills you learn are phenomenal.

Jade

, First year apprentice welder at Barrow

We have a clear and ongoing commitment to developing future talent, with more than 280 employees being recruited to join Submarines on early careers programmes this year, following more than 250 employees that joined as apprentices, higher apprentices or graduates in 2018.
 
And as we continue our partnership with the Royal Navy to deliver the next generation of submarines to ensure the continuation of the UK’s at sea deterrent into its 100th anniversary, we need the very brightest and best talent to be part of our story.

Jade added: “I would say to anyone thinking of applying, just go for it. When you get the email saying you have been accepted, that feeling never goes away. Even now I sometimes find myself reading that email saying that I got in.

“Don’t sit on the fence – go for it, because the opportunities are just fantastic and the skills you learn are phenomenal. 

“My grandad was a welder and my dad worked here as a cleaner. What is nice to know is that every single member of staff is part of a one single team, we are all equal here.”
 
Find out more about the opportunities available at our Barrow site on our Careers pages:
 
 
ASK Academy for Skills and Knowledge. Submarines
 
ASK Gallery

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Image of the facility
ASK at Barrow-in-Furness

The images on this site are the property of BAE Systems (Copyright © 2019 BAE Systems. All rights reserved)
Image of the facility
ASK at Barrow-in-Furness

The images on this site are the property of BAE Systems (Copyright © 2019 BAE Systems. All rights reserved)
Image taken inside of the facility
Apprentices using the ASK

The images on this site are the property of BAE Systems (Copyright © 2019 BAE Systems. All rights reserved)
Image taken inside of the facility
Apprentices using the ASK

The images on this site are the property of BAE Systems (Copyright © 2019 BAE Systems. All rights reserved)
Image taken from the outside of the facility
Apprentices using the ASK

The images on this site are the property of BAE Systems (Copyright © 2019 BAE Systems. All rights reserved)
 

 

2: "It's what I've always wanted to do..."

 
 
For one of our first year design apprentices at Barrow, joining BAE Systems is the continuation of a family legacy.

Michael, 26, currently has a brother and a cousin who work on the site. His father also spent his working life at the company. Given that, he was well aware of the opportunities a career within the Submarines business could offer.

But then, as a keen military history buff - he studied the subject at degree level at university – joining BAE Systems as an apprentice was always part of the plan. His previous worked as a sub-contractor as part of the security team, before jumping at the opportunity to join our core team. He has not been disappointed by the sheer breadth of opportunity on offer.

“This is the best opportunity in a 100 mile radius,” he explains. “When I finished at university I wanted to pursue a career and here there is an opportunity to gain an education and be paid for it. I studied military history and to be part something which is a legacy, something which is a piece of history, is amazing.
 
When I finished at university I wanted to pursue a career and here there is an opportunity to gain an education and be paid for it. I studied military history and to be part something which is a legacy, something which is a piece of history, is amazing.

Michael

, First year design apprentice at Barrow
 
“As a first year, I am still going to college, but from what I have seen of the site so far, it is fantastic. It is always changing and there are a variety of different roles designers are needed for. It is like working for a living, changing thing, and I really can’t want to get more into it.”

Apprenticeships across BAE Systems offer recognised academic or vocational qualifications, hands-on training, and real work. Across the Company as a whole, there is an average of 2,000 apprentices at any time. But our apprentices say what differentiates our apprenticeships is the challenge offered by the work and the sheer range of opportunities on offer. For apprentices like Michael, passion for the business shines through.

“The opportunities here are fantastic,” adds Michael. “Sometimes people who have not grown up in the area may not realise the importance of what we do here, of the importance to the area and the importance of what we do for the Navy. It is nice to be a part of that.

“You are being paid to learn. I am 26 now so it has been a little like going back to school for me. The skills you get taught are all valuable and transferrable. This is really what I wanted to do and I am so glad that I did.”
 
Find out more about the opportunities available at our Barrow site on our Careers pages:
 
 

 

1: Inspiring the next generation

 
 
Timelapse ASK Academy. Submarines
 
 
For 22 years in the Royal Navy, Nigel Chadwick never set foot on a surface ship.
 
And reflecting on a military career spent on various classes of submarines, he remembers being aware almost from day one of the importance of quality, of wanting to know that the skills, knowledge and expertise behind the building of the Navy’s vessels would ensuring the highest levels of safety for those, like him, living life on board.

“Right from completing my basic and technical training I went on to submarines and for the whole of my Royal Navy career, I never went on a ship,” he says. “When you are underwater, you are thinking about quality. You are thinking about how these submarines are built, what they are capable of.

“When I was designated on to a build boat – that would have been about 1994/95 – that’s when I really started to understand. That is when the technology, the complexities of building and commissioning these boats really hits home.”

It’s a memory which captures the importance of Barrow’s partnership with the Royal Navy, a continuing bond which began more than a century ago.

Of course, the town, the yard, the buildings and the technology moved on in the decades since. But our mission, alongside our partners across industry, to ensure the submariners of the Royal Navy are equipped with capability at the leading edge has not. Neither has our commitment to attracting the UK’s brightest and best – whether in functions like design, engineering, manufacture, test or commissioning - to work on our programmes.

Nigel, who worked as a weapons engineer on Trafalgar and Vanguard class submarines, joined BAE Systems after retiring from the Navy and has worked for the company for a decade. For him, it was a natural progression from the front line to encouraging the talent of tomorrow into our business.
 
So what is it that should inspire that next generation?

“I have always enjoyed the training side of things as part of the Navy and I was lucky enough when I left to be offered an opportunity here at Barrow as part of the Early Careers team,” adds Nigel.

“There is a full career opportunity here – the ability to be able to come into the business as an apprentice and be able to progress however you want. When you come to work in the morning, the excitement is that you are working on some of the most advanced, technical and challenging design, manufacture, testing and commissioning projects anywhere in the world.

“When I look at myself, I am a really small cog in the business. But when you stand back and see a submarine rolling out of the Devonshire Dock Hall, that sense of pride you get is just unbelievable,” he explains. “For me as an ex-submariner, it really takes it to a different level of pride.”

Back in 1901, the company had a novel way of attracting the new talent they needed – it built suitable homes. The first 1,000 houses were completed in 1901 and tenant workers moved in. Vickerstown still exists today and in 1988 it was declared a conservation area in order to protect the character of the buildings.

Meanwhile in modern day Barrow, building work of a different kind has been recently completed, an investment to ensure our submarines site stays at the cutting edge of opportunity for future talent. 
In December last year, BAE Systems Barrow’s £25m state of the-art training academy opened its doors. Built to develop the world-class engineering skills required to design, build and deliver complex submarine programmes to the Navy, it features classrooms, workshops, a virtual reality suite and scale-model sized submarine units. It is one of the most advanced facilities of its kind anywhere in the country, and will provide bespoke training to almost 9,000 employees. That includes nearly 800 apprentices as work continues to ramp up on the Dreadnought programme.

“The Academy is a fantastic modern facility,” explains Nigel. “There is now the ability to bring together not just my team, but the learning and development teams, the Corporate Responsibility team. It is a massive benefit. From the training side, we used to have workshops dotted across the yard and, for multi-billion pound projects, the facilities we had did not really match up. Now we have them together under one roof, giving people all the tools they need.”

It is an investment in the future – of our people and of our enduring partnership with the men and women of the Royal Navy.

Find out more about the opportunities available at our Barrow site on our Careers pages: