Jensen Berryman, Engineering Higher Apprentice. Until recently I worked as a Project Engineer on the Contractor Logistics Support (CLS) programme, through which BAE Systems delivers support to the Royal Navy’s Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) wherever in the world it is operationally required.
I worked directly on the CLS programme through to the end of 2019, then joined Engineering Projects Group (EPG) who support the CLS Program.
What route did you follow to work for BAE Systems?
My route into engineering began at my GCSEs when I got a GCSE in Engineering. I then went on to complete an Extended Diploma in Engineering. I was introduced to the idea of an apprenticeship by a tutor at college. It became clear that an apprenticeship would allow me to continue to progress to a professional qualification while gaining valuable work experience.
The real ‘pull’ for me to work in Portsmouth with BAE Systems was its excellent reputation for providing apprentices with practical engineering experience. In addition, BAE Systems offer a Higher National Diploma (HND), as well as Level 4 NVQ and a practical PEO qualification.
What was your involvement in the CLS programme?
I contributed to the programme for HMS Forth, prior to the platform’s deployment to the Falkland Islands. I worked in the role of Project Engineer, reporting to the Project Engineering Manager (PEM). I also assisted the team with product design solutions.
I worked on projects that involved rearranging specific compartments to improve ease of access, as well as maintenance and safety requirements of certain aspects of the vessel. I was also involved in designing and engineering new parts alongside my colleagues.
Did this represent a good opportunity for an apprentice?
Yes. Working on the programme builds your understanding of how the technical and commercial aspects work. It presents a good place to start, provides exposure to a wide range of engineering processes and practices while working in a fast-paced environment.
I was able to work on the project while also undertaking part-time college work, and it gave me an incredible springboard for my career. I’m currently supporting the EPG which provides engineering support to the CLS programme. EPG also supports equipment upgrades to the OPVs. It is this experience that has given me the opportunity to support other key projects, such as Equipment Improvement Program for the Type 45 Class.
During your time on CLS how do you think the customer benefitted from the use of apprentices?
It is my view that the customer benefitted from a fresh perspective, enthusiasm, and with the experienced oversight of my manager, engineering solutions to the same high standard the customer always expects of us.
It’s clear that the Government is supportive of apprenticeship programmes. They offer a way of training up the next generation of engineers in a way that delivers real world experience, and ensures there’s another generation ‘coming up’. BAE Systems is heavily invested in the apprenticeship program and its apprentices.
How has BAE Systems supported you during your apprenticeship?
The scheme is set up with support in mind. My manager was very hands-on. I was in the office or on a vessel every day, and received face time with immediate or senior managers on a daily basis, with lots of opportunities for job role shadowing. Each apprentice has a dedicated apprentice skill and development coach and a liaison in HR.
The apprentice culture in BAE Systems is extremely positive. There are many opportunities across a wide range of placements allowing for exploration into different skills, disciplines and sectors.
It sounds like your time working on the OPVs, and beyond, has been rewarding. What message do you have for anyone thinking about apprenticing with BAE Systems Maritime?
If you are looking to achieve a higher level of qualification whilst gaining experience, developing relevant skills and experiencing different placements. There is something there for everyone, and it can give you a range of future career options. I am really pleased I went down the apprenticeship route; it has proved a great springboard for a career in engineering.
[BAE Systems today takes a leading role in the hiring and training new apprentices and graduates nationally – fostering the next generation of talent from a wide variety of STEM-related disciplines.
In the Solent area alone BAE Systems hired more than 130 apprentices and graduates into its Maritime businesses, with more than 170 more set to join us this year. Across the wider business BAE Systems is set to hire almost 1,700 apprentices and graduates across 2022.
To learn more about BAE Systems’ apprenticeship scheme visit https://www.baesystems.com/en/careers/careers-in-the-uk/apprenticeships/schemes]