The Department for Education recently announced that a group of employers have come together to help promote diversity within apprenticeships. The Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network is comprised of a number of employers including ADS member BAE Systems.
The network has been established to champion apprenticeships and diversity amongst employers and encourage more people from underrepresented groups, including those with disabilities, women and members of the black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities, to consider apprenticeships.
It is positive to see – in the run up to National Apprenticeship Week – the establishment of such a network which encourages young people from all backgrounds to use apprenticeships to get on the ladder of opportunity to a successful career.
Chair of the Apprenticeships Diversity Championships Network, Nus Ghani MP said:
An apprenticeship can be the first step to a life-enhancing career. It can open up opportunities, provide inspiration and allow someone to develop skills which will carry them through life. In a competitive and challenging labour market, apprenticeships can be the way in for many people who might otherwise not have dared to dream that there was a fulfilling career path for them.
Christina Dines from BAE Systems a Hardware Technician from the Electronic Systems division of BAE Systems based in Rochester, who was nominated for ‘Female Apprentice of the Year’ at the Women in Science and Engineering Awards in 2015 explains to us what life is like as an apprentice.
Why did you choose / what inspired you to become an apprentice?
I decided to pursue an apprenticeship after I tried university and found it wasn’t for me at the time; apprenticeships were never really explored as an option at school however I was thrilled to find that I’d be earning as well as learning. A refreshing change coming out of education was the opportunity to use what I had learned in the classroom in the workplace as I found this really suited my learning style; I believe that practical application of knowledge is important for retention and I think the apprenticeship served this need well.
What is your favourite thing about working at BAE Systems?
My favourite thing about working at BAE Systems has to be the knowledge that I am working at the forefront of technology, and that it is technology that makes a difference.
What is the most exciting project you have worked on during your apprenticeship?
I really enjoyed being part of the team for the Broadsword® Spine®, which is an invisible network built directly into clothing, using conductive fabrics instead of wires, allowing the product to be worn as a vest. This was exciting because to me, wearable technology was something I’d expect to see in a film, not be something I actually got to work with, develop, and improve.
What advice would you give to others considering an apprenticeship?
The advice I would give is: do as much research as possible. It wasn’t until I did the apprenticeship that I realised how much I enjoyed engineering and how valuable apprenticeships are; I really wish that I had known about these options when considering things like subject choices because I could have prepared myself better for what is now my career.
To find out more about BAE Systems apprenticeship schemes, please visit: http://www.baesystems.com/en-uk/careers/careers-in-the-uk/apprenticeships