BAE Systems announced that it is currently training an unprecedented 2,036 apprentices across its UK-based defence and security businesses – equivalent to around six percent of its 34,000 UK employees.

This is the largest ever number in the company’s history, surpassing an original target to train 2,000 apprentices in 2018. In addition, BAE Systems announced plans to recruit an additional 574 apprentices to join in September 2017.

The number of apprentices in the business reflects the value of apprentices' contribution to BAE Systems' UK businesses overall and the continued success of the apprentice training scheme. The majority of UK apprentices are being trained specifically for engineering related roles and undergo three-and-a-half to four year training programmes. Many apprentices also progress to study Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees and the company is also now able to offer direct entry onto new degree apprenticeships, which last four to five years.

At BAE Systems in the UK, 26 per cent of the most recent apprentice intake are women and three and a half per cent are from ethnic minority groups. It is hoped that even higher numbers will join in 2017 as the company strives to achieve better diversity amongst its engineering population. Over recent years BAE Systems has developed a number of education projects with local schools and colleges that are designed to appeal specifically to girls and young people from ethnic minorities.

Nigel Whitehead, Group Managing Director at BAE Systems said: “This is a really exciting time to join BAE Systems as an apprentice. We offer a unique training experience and unrivalled opportunities to progress through our organisation regardless of background. Many of our senior Directors began their careers as apprentices and we pride ourselves on rewarding ability and commitment. The quality of the training we are able to offer also reflects the dedication of the hundreds of BAE Systems employees who train apprentices in the workplace – passing on their unique knowledge, expertise and experience to the next generation.”

Christina Dines, an award winning ex-apprentice from the Company’s site at Rochester in Kent added: “My apprenticeship changed the direction of my career to one I didn’t even know existed. I would absolutely recommend an apprenticeship with BAE Systems to anyone who wants to gain practical work experience, whilst working towards a career.”

BAE Systems invests more than £90 million in education and skills annually in the UK. The investment ranges from a nationwide engineering roadshow for schools to a life-long learning programme for employees.