BAE Systems say it will recruit more than 800 apprentices in the UK in 2020 – the highest number ever recruited by the firm.

The new recruits will join one of more than 25 apprenticeship programmes across our Air, Maritime, Land and Cyber divisions, benefitting from tailored schemes that combine recognised qualifications with on-the-job training.

The majority of the new apprentices will join either the Air or Maritime sectors where they will work on some of the most exciting and nationally important programmes in the UK. This includes developing future combat air technologies for the Royal Air Force and working on the Dreadnought programme – the new generation of submarine for the Royal Navy that will replace the current Vanguard class.

Charles Woodburn, Chief Executive, BAE Systems, said:

“Our apprentices are the lifeblood of our business. I’m incredibly proud of the significant contribution they make to the design and delivery of our most complex products, equipment and services, helping to ensure we remain at the forefront of technology and innovation and safeguard our national security for decades to come. As technology and our workplace evolves, it’s critical that we continue to invest in training the next generation of engineers and leaders. By working alongside industry peers, government and the education sector, we can ensure we are ready to respond to complex challenges of the future.”

BAE currently employ more than 34,000 people in the UK and are one of the country’s largest employers of engineers, with around 66 per cent of staff employed in engineering or engineering-related roles.

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Geoffrey Roach

Excellent new. Just what we need post Brexit. A real opportunity for our youngsters to work in high tech for a world class company.

Aethelstan the curious

I definitely agree, I hope there’s a pathway to a charter too!


Agreed, good pay too.


How about hiring someone who can figure out delivering a project on time and on budget..


Well that would be a relative first in the defence industry throughout the world. It’s the nature of the beast at the cutting edge, someone who can minimise waste is th best you can hope for… Or alternatively employ cross channel ferries and stick done pea shooters on them that will do the job of getting on budget and time no end.


The key to keeping youngsters out of trouble is to give them something productive to do. Keep them busy and tired. In the adult world, that also includes a pay packet.



It is much more than that! As a teacher, I have seen numerous student’s trolling off to waste 3 years at university. Proper apprenticeships provide a solid and resilient source of skilled workers that are appropriate to the needs of industry. Yes, university is the right course for the brightest, but is a hopeless waste of time for many. I applaud the return to apprenticeships, but they must be top quality and include opportunities for university study for top apprentices! The old sandwich course idea was brilliant. And I don’t mean just manufacturing industry….it should be employed across the board… Read more »


Here in the U.S. the post secondary industry has done a wonderful job of convincing people that only a 4 year university degree will do. Regardless of the relative value of a degree in Gender Studies, Ancient Egyptian Death Rituals, or Underwater Basket Weaving. There are over 2400 accredited colleges and universities here, however, of that number, only about 140 are considered to be competitive institutions by human resource officers. The best bang for the buck for a young person who isn’t interested in attending university remains the 2 year community system. They provide training in hands on skills and… Read more »


I sympathise and fully concur with your views. Sooner or later university education needs to be reassessed… many bloody media studies graduates does a country need.


I fully agree; I was of the generation where it seemed that the only option was university for anyone who is even remotely capable, everyone else being consigned to the dead-end of some kind of “dead end” apprenticeship or other further education work scheme. On top of that, I regularly saw universities marketing themselves to students as much as or even more on their “university experience” delivery as the quality of their courses, which I think tells you something… I believe it is still somewhat the same now, so am very glad that apprenticeships are being taken seriously. I would… Read more »


Totally agree. I’ve had this conversation with my kids – unless you get into astrophysics at Cambridge University it’s a quality apprenticeship, I’m not having some drug addled left wing tutor at a rebranded polytech fill their heads with cr#p and ruin them for life.


Well thanks for that SD67, I’m a left-wing tutor (that likes a glass of beer) although I rarely share this with my students. Let’s leave the politics out of this, both parties are to blame for the system that we have at the moment. Good educational practice is about getting the right students on to the right course and not a money spinning exercise for crappy institutions (Oxbridge is just as guilty in this respect). Believe it or not, being right of centre is not a state of grace! Most of the arseholes that I’ve met in my 66 years… Read more »


University is a default and not necessarily the best way to serve industry? The snobbery of the current process replaced a pathway for working-class through apprenticeship. This new initiative needs to be sold across academia, as a viable and recognizable skill achievement, equal in accreditation, to a university degree.


I agree to a certain extent Maurice. It wasn’t just the WC that apprenticeships appealed to….in the 1970s many middle class kids enjoyed the benefits of good apprenticeships. Let’s drop the idea that various qualifications are equal. This country is obsessed with the idea that, regardless of difference, everything is the same. A degree is a degree…..or is it? Is a first in astro-physics from Cambridge the same as a first in frog-squashing from the University of Nowhereshire. No it ain’t! I know of courses that my weakest students can get onto, with the shitiest of qualifications, as long as… Read more »


Politicians are obsessed with university though. We are already seeing the big four accountancy companies offer a vocational route to being a chartered accountant and I guarantee the 16/17 years old who start of on the 7 years of training will progress faster through the ranks than graduates joining 4 years later. A lot of tech companies are also recruiting the brightest students of out of school because they can training them up to the same level in 12 – 24 months in their own academies at a fraction of the cost of graduates which at times is like throwing… Read more »


Yes, many legal firms prefer to train their own staff. The last thing they want is some cocky so and so with a Law degree arguing the toss with them!


BAE is doing pretty well on this side of the pond too. Just the latest CG47 modernization contra t in a string of them.



Got excited until I realised it was for BAE rather than the chronic lack of RN engineers. Great for BAE though.