In a heartfelt testimony, a former apprentice, now Lifting Chargehand, provided me and other journalists with insight into his decision to join the company and the profound sense of purpose he discovered in his role.

David Paton spoke passionately about the significance of BAE Systems’ mission.

Reflecting on his decision to join the company, David emphasised the sense of stability and opportunity he found, describing BAE Systems as a place where individuals could establish their roots and forge meaningful careers. For David, the true essence of his work lies in the ships he helps build.

As a chargehand, David plays a crucial role in overseeing lifting operations, contributing to the intricate process of shipbuilding with precision and dedication. His journey from apprentice to chargehand seems emblematic of the company’s commitment to nurturing talent and providing avenues for career progression.

In David’s words, “We’re building ships to help protect people, not just for the navy but for our loved ones as well. There’s a lot of meaning behind it.”

As BAE Systems continues to expand its operations and seeks to hire more apprentices, individuals like David and the other apprentices we had the chance to meet represent the future of the shipbuilding giant in Scotland. Additional insightful perspectives were shared with us, many reflecting the diverse pathways within the company’s ranks.

One apprentice recounted how a friend’s recommendation and a fortuitous vacancy led them to apply. Another, a former project management apprentice, highlighted the hands-on learning and structured approach of the apprenticeship programme, contrasting it favourably with traditional university education.

Reflecting on the evolving landscape of career choices, a current project management apprentice noted the increasing recognition of apprenticeships as viable career paths, particularly for those who may not have previously considered them. Another apprentice reinforced this sentiment, citing the influence of peers who had pursued apprenticeships, showcasing BAE Systems as an attractive workplace.

BAE Systems is set to add 300 more apprentices and graduates to its workforce in Scotland in 2024 as the company continues to increase its shipbuilding capacity. This move is part of BAE Systems’ broader strategy to recruit almost 2,700 trainees across the UK, marking a notable increase in its commitment to developing young talent.

The Govan and Scotstoun sites in Glasgow, tasked with building the advanced Type 26 frigates for the Royal Navy, will be major beneficiaries of this influx of new talent.

Charles Woodburn, Chief Executive BAE Systems, said previously:

“As the UK’s largest manufacturer, we have sites located right across the country, and we’re investing hundreds of millions of pounds to equip young people with the skills they need to achieve their full potential.  Providing high-quality apprenticeships and graduate programmes gives young people a route into long-term employment and helps to grow the talent we need to deliver vital national defence and security programmes, including future fighter jets, nuclear-powered submarines and low earth orbit satellites.”

As many will be aware, I prefer to see the ships from my drone camera, but I’m sure many of you reading this would want to be part of the process. Just click here.

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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker (@guest_809517)
26 days ago

This is fantastic, I really hope the orders keep coming to allow these employees skills to grow. As the skills improve, productivity improves.
The U.K. does so many start and stop industrial projects that just ruin folks job skills and push costs and time scales through the roof. hS2 being the biggest one recently

Math (@guest_809633)
26 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

100% agree. I whish the value system driving people is changed and serve the common good. This article is definitely the way to go to attract talents and let people from UK believe in themselves. Trust in your own people, own genius is so important. With it, everything is possible. In my country, France, we used to speak about Home Engineers. They where people, with no proper Engineering diploma, but who grew their skillset over the issue their company was facing. With experience accumulated, they grew in competency and we had an easy way developing new technics or make evolve… Read more »

Barry Larking
Barry Larking (@guest_809768)
25 days ago

More of this. I am aware (thanks to knowledgeable comments) of our massive problems with defence procurement since the turn of the century, but dwelling on the past when this is our future seems a national (U.K.) habit we could try to curb.