Unite general secretary Len McCluskey today (Tuesday 3 January) welcomed commitments by BAE Systems to train a record number of apprentices and take on over 500 new apprentices this year.
Calling on other firms and the government to learn from the defence giant’s lead, McCluskey said that the ‘world class’ apprenticeships were a vote of confidence in the nation’s young people and would be crucial to sustaining manufacturing communities for years to come.
More than 2,000 apprentices, totalling 6 per cent of its workforce are currently being trained across BAE Systems with a further 574 set to be recruited in September this year. 300 of these apprentices will be trained at Barrow in Furness to work on the new Dreadnought class submarines and the four remaining Astute class vessels.
The high quality apprenticeships last for three and a half to four years with the opportunity for apprentices to progress to Bachelor and Master’s degrees.
Commenting Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “The decision by BAE to train a record number of apprentices is a vote of confidence in our young people and the UK’s aerospace and shipbuilding industries.
“These are exactly the high quality ‘world class’ apprenticeships that Unite has been campaigning for as part of a manufacturing strategy that harnesses the potential of all our young men and women.
“It is good see that in a traditionally male dominated sector over a quarter of BAE’s record number of apprentices are women. While there is clearly a way to go, this step in the right direction shows that Unite’s campaigning with employers to encourage more women into science and engineering is having an impact.
“Unite will not let up in our campaigning to encourage more women into manufacturing and get companies to commit to good quality apprenticeships. We urge ministers to do more and put decent apprenticeships at the heart of an industrial strategy which re-balances the economy and provides decent employment for young people.”
For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.
Notes to editors
• Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.