As a company, BAE Systems is committed to education and supporting young people. We invest £93m in skills annually, which we deliver through our work with schools, colleges and universities across the UK. Through this investment, we take a leading role in securing the future of the UK’s engineering sector, by ensuring it has enough people with the right expertise, skills, diversity and mindset to enable it to remain competitive on the world stage and in the post-Brexit environment.
This is particularly important as we enter a new digital age, in what has become known as the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”. And it’s vital that we continue this investment as the UK seeks to level up and rebuild itself through its post-pandemic economic recovery. The shortage of young people beginning careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects has been well-documented for many years.
For BAE Systems in particular, the skills that are scarce and we need more of include software and systems engineering, aerospace engineering and project management. That is why we are very supportive of engineering and digital T-levels, which we see as a pipeline into our apprenticeships.
Prior to the pandemic, we delivered an annual engineering roadshow to 100,000 young people from more than 420 schools, supporting our efforts of encouraging more young people into STEM careers. This year, because we are unfortunately still unable to visit schools, we will deliver a virtual programme called Coding Success in partnership with the RAF and the Royal Navy, which has 600 places secured for non-selective state schools.
BAE Systems is also a founding member of the Movement to Work programme, which provides quality work experience for disadvantaged young people. Working with The Prince’s Trust, we have provided roughly 100 work placements for young unemployed people every
year since 2014.
Based on 2019 results, this programme has a 78 per cent positive outcome, meaning that the majority of young people went on to work with us, another employer or went into education. Our involvement in Movement to Work and the success of this programme led BAE Systems to commit support to the government’s Kickstart Scheme.
Despite the challenges of the pandemic, we continued to recruit record numbers of young people, training 743 apprentices in 2020, of whom 70 per cent were based in the north-west of England. This year we plan to recruit roughly 850 apprentices. Our goal is to attract, recruit and retain people with the appropriate skills. We strive to create an inclusive, agile environment in which everyone can do their best work and feels valued for their contribution.
This article originally appeared in our issue on Regional Development: Access to Opportunity. Download the full issue here.