Air firms’ £2.8m training scheme

Takis Gerdelis of Magellan Aerospace, left, and Nigel Whitehead of BAE Systems, right, examine the training facilities for apprentices.
Takis Gerdelis of Magellan Aerospace, left, and Nigel Whitehead of BAE Systems, right, examine the training facilities for apprentices.
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AEROSPACE companies across the Fylde have teamed up with BAE Systems to launch a £2.8m apprenticeship scheme.

Firms which make parts for BAE factories at Warton, Samlesbury and Barrow can send their workers to BAE’s training centre.

It is a pilot scheme funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES).

Supplier companies from the North West attended a conference at the firm’s apprentice training centre in Preston where the 50 young people will be trained from September 2013.

It means that smaller firms which have no in-house training themselves can send their young engineers to BAE Systems to be trained in the latest techniques and with the latest machinery.

Successful candidates will receive a sought-after three-year apprenticeship in engineering from BAE Systems before joining a company which supplies components or services to its military aircraft business in Lancashire or the company’s submarines design and building facility in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.

Yesterday’s conference follows UKCES’s announcement on September 11 of £165m funding under an Employer Ownership Pilot which aims to create thousands of jobs for young people.

As part of this, £1.4m was awarded to BAE Systems to train the 50 apprentices, which the Company is matching with its own funds and resources.

One of the supplier companies, Magellan Aerospace of Blackpool, sent senior staff to look at the new scheme. Takis Gerdelis, production manager at Magellan, said: “We do have other training providers, but BAE Systems is able to provide specific aerospace manufacturing training.

“This scheme is really useful for the local supplier base.”

Nigel Whitehead, group managing director at BAE Systems added: “This pilot scheme is a win-win situation.

“Supplier companies with more limited resources can access first-class training programmes and facilities whilst larger businesses take responsibility for developing the specific skills they need to grow and sustain their business, and with it their supply chains.

“I am confident that the pilot will be successful and in time, we can extend this scheme to other parts of the UK.”

BAE Systems has around 1,000 apprentices in training in its three year apprenticeship programme, which has one of the highest completion rates in the engineering sector and was rated Grade 1 – ‘outstanding’ by OFSTED in July 2010.

The company was also awarded the National Apprentice Award for the Macro Employer of the Year and it invests more than £83M a year in the UK in education system and in training.

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