During a visit by Prime Minister David Cameron to BAE Systems Military Air & Information site at Warton, Lancashire today, the Company announced it will invest in a new training academy and recruit a record number of more than 800 apprentices in 2015.
A new £15.6m flagship training academy within the Lancashire Enterprise Zone in Samlesbury will offer state-of-the-art facilities for BAE Systems apprentices and existing employees and will be completed in time for the 2016 apprenticeship intake. The flexible, modern environment will accommodate a larger number of apprentices and greater engagement with schools.
BAE Systems is already one of the biggest employers of apprentices in the UK, with more than 1,000 apprentices training in the Company at any one time and an annual £80m investment in education and skills. Of the more than 800 apprentice places in 2015, 45 apprentices employed by the supply chain or other defence and aerospace companies will have their training delivered and overseen by BAE Systems.
During his visit, the Prime Minister spoke to more than 300 apprentices from companies across the North West, including many working on highly advanced engineering projects such as Eurofighter Typhoon, F-35 Lightning II and unmanned air systems.
The Prime Minister David Cameron said: "Apprenticeships are a key part of our long-term economic plan, giving people who want to work hard and get on with the chance to build their careers and secure a better future. Across the country people are taking up apprenticeships in record numbers and it is heartening to see such a major employer as BAE Systems at the forefront of this, leading the charge and investing in the future of the UK defence aerospace industry."
Ian King, Chief Executive of BAE Systems said: “Our record apprentice intake and investment in a new training facility highlights the importance of apprentices as a means of developing the highly skilled, ambitious and enthusiastic workforce needed to deliver world-leading technologies. I’m extremely proud of our apprenticeship programme and the value it provides to BAE Systems and the UK. The programme has experienced significant growth and we are committed to ensuring those joining the Company have the best possible training experience, grounding them for the exciting, challenging careers that lie ahead.”
The Company is actively encouraging more women to apply for apprenticeship programmes this year to improve the gender balance of its apprenticeship populations. In 2014, women accounted for 17 percent of apprentice places and the goal is to improve on this in 2015. BAE Systems’ apprentice programme has one of the highest completion rates in the engineering sector and received an ‘outstanding’ rating by OFSTED in 2010.
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