BAE announces 1,250 trainee hires despite COVID-19 pandemic

Kumutha Ramanathan
·Contributor
·2-min read
The BAE Systems logo is pictured at the BAE Systems site at Brough in East Yorkshire, north east England, on September 27, 2011. British arms manufacturer BAE Systems axed 3,000 jobs on Tuesday, mainly at its military aircraft division, as reduced spending by governments hits demand for Eurofighter Typhoon and F-35 fighter jets. "Our customers are facing huge pressures on their defence budgets and affordability has become an increasing priority," BAE Systems chief executive Ian King said in a statement unveiling the "nearly 3,000" job losses. AFP PHOTO / LINDSEY PARNABY        (Photo credit should read LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/GettyImages)
BAE Systems will create apprenticeships and graduate roles throughout the UK, with a focus on placements in the north of England. Photo: Lindsey Parnaby/AFP/Getty

BAE systems (BA.L) has announced it will hire more than 1,250 new trainees in its early careers programmes in 2021, despite the mounting impact of COVID-19 on the UK job market, the company said on Thursday.

At least 850 apprenticeships and 400 graduate roles will be made available, the highest ever recruited by the defence, security, and aerospace company in a single year.

They will be based throughout the UK and new recruits will have the chance to be involved in technologically-advanced programmes, including Tempest, a future combat air system for the Royal Air Force and Dreadnought, a new generation of submarines for the Royal Navy.

“Getting people back to work and creating high-quality jobs is a national priority,” said Charles Woodburn, CEO of BAE Systems.

“So, it’s more important than ever that those of us who are in a position to do so continue our investment in the UK workforce. We’re fortunate that our business is based on long-term critical defence programmes, giving us the confidence to increase our apprentice and graduate recruitment to create a strong talent pipeline, which enables us to continue delivering cutting-edge technologies, whilst playing a role in supporting the UK’s economic recovery.”

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The news comes as Britain's unemployment rate rose to 1.52 million in the three months to October, with redundancies reaching a record high as companies were hit by new coronavirus restrictions and were bracing for the end of government job subsidies.

BAE has nearly 88,000 employees in dozens of countries, with more than 34,000 workers in the UK. Senior staff, including the managing director of BAE's air division, Chris Boardman, and former BAE chief executive Mike Turner began as apprentices.

The company has been hurt by the destabilising impact of COVID-19, warning that half-year profits are expected to be around 15% lower as the pandemic takes its toll, with the UK-based air and maritime and US commercial avionics divisions impacted the most.

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