Construction begins on BAE training facility

Work has commenced building BAE Systems’ new £15.6m state-of-the-art facility to train future apprentices on a single site.

The start of construction was marked by a ground-breaking ceremony, and coincided with a new cohort of apprentices joining BAE Systems’ Military Air and Information (MA&I) business.

The new facility, which will be built within the Lancashire Enterprise Zone in Samlesbury, will be completed in time for the 2016 apprenticeship intake.

It will provide a flexible, modern environment allowing for better engagement with schools, as well as greater capacity for overtraining to ensure other companies in the supply chain and sector have the skills they need for the long term.

BAE Systems’ significant investment in the new Training Academy highlights the key role apprentices play in the company’s commitment to develop the highly skilled workforce required to continue developing world-leading technology to meet its customers’ needs.

BAE Systems is one of the largest employers of apprentices in the UK and it invests around £80m per year in training and skills.

At any one time there are more than 1,000 apprentices in training across the UK and in July, the Company committed to significantly grow the number of apprentices in training to 2,000 by 2018.

Skills minister Nick Boles said: “BAE Systems has long recognised the huge value apprentices bring to its business, and this new training centre will be a welcome boost to local employers and young people.

“Employers need to invest in skills to be competitive in a global market, which is why we are introducing an apprenticeship levy to help more businesses direct investment, like BAE Systems, in their workforce and future.”

Chris Boardman, managing director of BAE Systems Military Air and Information business, said: “The ground breaking today is a significant milestone in this exciting development that will provide cutting-edge facilities and greater capacity for future apprentices joining our business.

“I am extremely proud of our apprenticeship programme and the role it plays in ensuring we continue to develop world-class skills to create world-class technology.” BAE's apprentice programme, which has one of the highest completion rates in the engineering sector, has a number of accolades to its name including the National Apprentice Award for the Macro Employer of the Year in 2011.