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BAE Systems has plans to recruit 2,622 apprentices in different regions across the UK in 2023, a number the firm claims is a 43% increase on the amount hired the year before.
Around 50 apprenticeship, undergraduate and graduate programmes in the firm will be available for roles including cyber security, software development and aerospace engineering.
Tania Gandamihardja, group director of human resources at BAE Systems, said: “Faced with economic challenges not seen in a generation, it’s essential for businesses like ours to invest in the next generation to equip young people with the skills they need to achieve their full potential and support social mobility.
“Providing high-quality early careers programmes gives young people a route into long-term employment and helps recruit the talent we need to deliver on vital national defence and security programmes, such as the Tempest next-generation combat aircraft and Dreadnought nuclear submarines.”
Young people often steer clear of the technology sector for a number of reasons, including not knowing what skills are required for particular roles, although apprenticeships have been flagged as a good way to close the skills gaps in the near future, both for young people and adults.
Of BAE’s 35,000 employees in the UK, around 4,300 are apprentices or graduate trainees – the firm invests £100m a year into educating and developing the skills of its early career employees, and around 95% of people who take part in an apprenticeship programme stay with the company in full-time employment.
Opportunities in 2023 will be spread throughout the UK, with most available in the North West of England – a total of 1,415 apprentice roles, 329 undergraduate roles and 878 graduate roles will be available during the year.
Skills training has featured heavily in the government’s plans for economic recovery following the pandemic – especially focusing on lifelong education and essential digital skills.
For BAE, the hope is that offering such a large number of career opportunities to young people will contribute towards the government’s efforts to boost the economy through education.
Robert Halfon, minister for skills, apprenticeships and higher education, said: “Apprenticeships are the catalyst to boosting the economy, building a skills nation and extending the ladder of opportunity to all. It’s extraordinary to see leading apprentice employer BAE Systems plan to recruit over 2,600 apprentices and graduates this year, across key industries including cyber security, aerospace engineering and software development.”
BAE Systems is accepting applications for next year’s apprenticeship programmes until February 2023.
One current BAE Systems apprentice said she has many friends who wish they had followed a similar path to her.
Hazel McGarth, first-year project management apprentice in BAE Systems’ Naval Ships business, said: “I’m the first in my family to work in the maritime industry and they’re so proud of me. My apprenticeship is the perfect blend of hands-on work experience and academic study. I have a real pride and purpose being part of the team which floated HMS Glasgow on to the River Clyde this year. It’s built my confidence so much and helped me become more financially independent.”