What it's really like to be an apprentice at BAE Systems

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 23 Feb 2018

Two apprentices working at BAE Systems in East Yorkshire have spoken out to encourage other young people to apply for the qualification.

The multinational defence, security and aerospace company, which has a site in Brough, is currently recruiting for people to apply to one of the three apprenticeships they offer.

Apprenticeships are available to anyone over the age of 16, and gives them the chance to learn alongside experienced colleagues in their chosen field, acquire job-specific skills and reap the benefits of being employed.

And at BAE, people can now apply to take up apprenticeships in engineering, aerospace software development, and aircraft maintenance support.

Kieran Woodcock (Image: BAE Systems)

Kieran Woodcock  is one of the company’s advanced engineering apprentices, and said he originally applied to BAE Systems to develop his “understanding of how things work.”

He said after completing his A-levels, he had to choose between continuing his learning at university or as an apprentice.

He said: “My understanding was that going to university developed your academic thinking and provided a level of technical and theoretical understanding.

“However an apprenticeship offered a vocational method of learning on the job, with the prospect of a full time position being available upon completion.

“I made the decision to apply for an apprenticeship with BAE Systems because the opportunity to be part of a global organisation at the forefront of innovation and technology could give me an insight into the industry that university could not.”

As well as providing him with qualifications which will help him towards a degree, he said the experience he developed has been “invaluable”.

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He said: “An apprenticeship with BAE Systems offers an exciting opportunity to gain invaluable experience, learning on the job while earning a competitive salary.

“In my opinion, with an apprenticeship, you gain the best of both worlds. You are given the chance to soak up the knowledge and experience of specialists meanwhile working towards academic qualifications, all funded by the business.”

Adam Langstaff

Adam Langstaff is a software apprentice in Brough who has managed to continue his education while working.

A company spokesman said: “Adam Langstaff is an inspiration to apprentices starting out on their career path.

“Adam has been able to demonstrate motivation and resilience during the highs and lows of his three-year software apprenticeship 2014-2017 for BAE Systems, Brough.

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“During the first and second year of his studies, Adam completed a foundation degree in science in computing at East Riding College, achieving a distinction.

“Throughout his apprenticeship, Adam has also completed an EAL Level 3 NVQ diploma in engineering technical support.

Apprentices can earn while they learn (Image: BAE Systems)

“Alongside his academic commitment he has completed a four month secondment to RAF Conningsby directly facing customers and has excelled in this role.

“Recently he was presented with an outstanding achievement award at the BAE Systems UK Apprentice Awards evening held in Leeds.”

Meanwhile Jack, a software engineering degree apprentice, said: “Working at BAE Systems involves discovering amazing new things, from learning how to fly aircraft on the simulators to programming your own software.

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“My favourite part of the job is knowing the work I do is beneficial to the products we deliver. Instead of being given tasks where I may not feel particularly useful, I know that I am developing software that will help push up the quality of the product."

And Matt, and aircraft maintenance and support apprentice, said: "Working on a jet never gets boring. Every day my job offers a new exciting challenge. One day you could be fitting a jet engine to and the next you could be doing hydraulic function testing."

What apprenticeships can you study at Bae Systems?


BAE Systems are recruiting for three kinds of apprenticeships (Image: BAE SYSTEMS)

This three to four year engineering apprenticeship will see you working on some of the world’s most advanced military aircraft, in either a craft or technician role.

Initially there will be around 40 weeks of off-the job training, which lasts for around 40 weeks at the company’s Academy for Skills and Knowledge.

As an Engineering Apprentice, you'll require five GCSEs grade A*-C/4-9 (or equivalent) including Maths, English and Science/technical subject.

You can find out more here .

Aerospace Software Developer (Degree)

Alicia is one of the company's existing apprentices (Image: BAE SYSTEMS)

The Aerospace Software Development Degree Apprenticeships could be the perfect first step for you into the world of software development.

This four-year apprenticeship provides the opportunity to work in BAE Systems along with the opportunity to study for a foundation degree on a part time basis at a local higher education establishment.

To apply for the Aerospace Software Developer Degree Apprenticeship you’ll require:

Five GCSE's grade A*-C/4-9 (or equivalent) including maths, English and double science and 240/96 UCAS points or equivalent (excluding UCAS points gained at AS level) to include maths plus at least one further STEM based subject excluding general studies.

Find out more about the role here .

Aircraft Maintenance and Support

You can study aircraft maintenance with an apprenticeship with BAE (Image: BAE Systems)

An Aircraft Maintenance and Support Apprenticeship with BAE Systems will equip you with the knowledge and skills to work on industry leading fast jet aircraft.

This four-year Aircraft Maintenance and Support apprenticeship will enable you to work overseas on military fast jet aircrafts.

Your starting salary will be £11,951 with increases throughout the scheme with a salary on completion of over £26,000.

Entry requirements are:

  • Four GCSEs at Grade B/ Level 6 or above (or equivalent) which must include Maths and Science (preferably Physics). You must also hold an English GCSE or Grade C/ Level 4 or above (or equivalent)
  • Ability to demonstrate a level of hands on mechanical/avionic aptitude
  • Honest, hard-working and have a real determination with a commitment to learning in order to achieve success and participate within the business
  • Excellent team-working and communication skills with the ability to adapt and co-operate to conditions that can change quickly
  • Professional and confident, pro-active attitude towards work with a willingness to accept responsibility
  • Eligibility to work in the UK and be able to successfully achieve security clearance
  • In addition, applicants will be expected to be medically fit as deemed necessary to perform the role (mainly hearing and colour perception)
  • Be able to work on ITAR controlled Aircraft

Find out more and apply here.

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