BAE Systems is moving forward with the recruitment of a record number of apprentices this year, despite the economic ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A shortlist of almost 2,000 candidates have been selected from more than 9,000 applications received in February for 800 apprenticeship roles. The company has put in place measures, including virtual interviews, which has enabled it to cotinue with its recruitment drive.
Charles Woodburn, BAE Systems chief executive, said: “Getting people back to work and creating new jobs, especially for younger people, is a national priority and we are 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 have worked hard to adapt our application and training processes to allow education to continue, while protecting the health and well-being of our employees and new recruits.”
Recent research from the Resolution Foundation, an independent British think tank, found that those born in the late 1990s are expected to be hardest hit by the current crisis. Over the last few weeks, BAE System's early careers teams have developed new ways to enable candidates — many aged between 16 and 19 — to be interviewed safely and remotely.
The 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.
Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State for Education, said: “It is brilliant to see BAE Systems’ continued support for apprenticeships, recognising the hard work, skills and value that apprentices bring to a world-leading British company.
“BAE Systems’ recruitment of 800 apprentices is yet more evidence that apprenticeships are an excellent choice for young people and shows that they are an excellent route into a wide range of high quality and exciting careers. I am certain that apprenticeships will play a vital role in our economic recovery from coronavirus.
“I would like to wish all of those who applied the best of luck and to thank BAE Systems for their ongoing commitment to invest in their next generation of highly skilled staff.”
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 new apprenticeships are based in the North of England. Since 2016, we have invested more than £40 million in two ‘state of the art’ academies for skills and knowledge at Samlesbury, Lancashire, and Barrow-in-Furness to train apprentices and develop the careers of existing staff.
BAE System's apprentices train in a number of disciplines including engineering, manufacturing, project management, finance, business administration and IT – representing diverse and rigorous training programmes. 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 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, we have 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 its 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.