BAE Systems apprentice intake shows opportunities exist for school leavers

Despite the impact of coronavirus (Covid-19) on jobs and the prospects of young people in particular, BAE Systems has exciting news to share that should reassure you that there will be opportunities available to you once you leave school

BAE Systems, which builds advanced defence technology that protects people and national security, and keeps critical information and infrastructure secure, received applications from more than 9,000 people across the UK for the 800 apprenticeship roles in February.

While 9,000 applicants for 800 apprenticeships might seem competitive, it works out at a little over 10 people for every role, which is far from unusual, particularly in the current circumstances.

Charles Woodburn, chief executive at BAE Systems, underlined the company’s commitment to creating new jobs, particularly for young people. He said: “We’re pleased to play our part in supporting the UK’s economic recovery. The contribution apprentices make to our business is vital in maintaining our ability to continue to deliver cutting edge technologies which protect national security. We’ve worked hard to adapt our application and training processes to allow education to continue, whilst protecting the health and wellbeing of our employees and new recruits.”

BAE Systems apprentice intake infographic

Apprenticeships at BAE Systems

The support of employers such as BAE Systems are vitally important to getting young people into work, with recent research from the Resolution Foundation finding that those born in the late 1990s are expected to be hardest hit by the current crisis.

The careers team at BAE Systems has been using virtual interviews to ‘meet’ apprenticeship applicants under social distancing measures. Successful applicants will begin their careers on one of more than 25 apprenticeship training programmes in the company’s air, maritime and electronic systems divisions, with the majority joining from September to January.

 Those who make it through the selection process could find themselves working on some of the UK’s most exciting and nationally important programmes. Apprentices play a role in developing future combat air technologies for the Tempest programme in Warton, Lancashire, as well as in the design and build of Dreadnought submarines in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, and Type 26 frigates in Glasgow. Applicants could also find themselves working alongside the armed forces at RAF Coningsby or Portsmouth Naval Base.

More than 70% of BAE Systems’s new apprenticeships are based in the north of England. Since 2016, the company has invested more than £40 million in two state of the art academies at Samlesbury, Lancashire and Barrow-in-Furness to train and develop employees, including apprentices. 

BAE Systems apprentices train in a number of disciplines, including engineering, manufacturing, project management, finance, business administration and IT. Approximately 95% successfully complete their training and its apprentices have a strong track record of enjoying long careers with good progression in the company.  

Throughout lockdown, the company’s early careers teams have supported more than 1,500 apprentices by providing them with a virtual learning environment to continue their training. A new remote approach to end point assessments will ensure apprentices can complete their training and transition to their first permanent roles within the company.

In addition, BAE Systems recently introduced a new graduate programme, with multiple intakes through the year. Applications have remained open throughout this period and the company is committed to a plan to recruit approximately 250 graduates between September this year and June 2021. It is also offering more than 60 one-year industrial placements, with successful candidates joining in September.

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