In a significant boost to the Chancellor’s Summer Budget announcement on apprenticeships yesterday (8 July 2015), BAE Systems, the UK’s largest defence firm, announced plans to recruit 2,000 new apprentices.
The decision comes just a day after the Chancellor announced a major shake up to how Britain’s biggest companies can help deliver millions of apprenticeships, with the introduction of a new apprentice levy.
The radical plan will get large employers to play a full role in achieving the government’s ambitious target of 3 million apprentices by the end of the Parliament.
All of the money raised by the new levy will be ring fenced and put in the hands of employers via a voucher mechanism, to ensure they deliver the training people need. There will be formal engagement with business on the implementation of the levy with further details set out later this year.
BAE Systems, run one of the country’s largest apprenticeship programmes and currently employ more than 18,000 people in the north of England. It stands to benefit significantly from the Chancellor’s new pledge to maintain defence spending at 2 per cent of GDP in line with the NATO commitment.
As part of the visit the Chancellor met with the company’s management team before touring the site.
The visit formed the first of the Chancellor’s regional tours aimed at highlighting the policies announced in the Summer Budget 2015.
Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne said:
Britain’s great businesses have a hugely important role to play in training up the next generation and I was delighted to visit BAE systems, a company right at the heart of the Northern Powerhouse, to hear about their plans to create 2,000 new apprentices.
We need a new system that encourages more employers to deliver high quality apprentices and this levy will help us make huge progress.
My Budget yesterday put security first and delivered on our plan for working people in the North West, setting out the next steps in building the Northern Powerhouse.
BAE Systems spends around £80 million per year training employees and investing in apprenticeships and education to develop its future workforce. The company also trains apprentices on behalf of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and suppliers in its UK supply chain.
Nigel Whitehead, BAE Systems’ Group Managing Director, Programmes & Support said:
It was our pleasure to host the Chancellor of the Exchequer at Warton today to see at first hand the investments we are making to keep our company and employees at the vanguard of productivity and technology development.
BAE Systems designs, builds and supports some of the most complex capabilities for armed forces and security services around the world. Our employment of 2,000 apprentices by 2018 illustrates our commitment to ensure our workforce here in the UK remains amongst the best trained and qualified in our sector, anywhere in the world.
Ian King, Chief Executive, BAE Systems said:
We welcome the budget and its focus on long term prosperity, productivity and national security. The commitment of additional resources for defence and security, including the pledge to spend 2% of national income on defence and the creation of a joint security fund, are particularly encouraging. BAE Systems is committed to delivering the capabilities our customers need whilst providing value for money for taxpayers.