Apprentices lead in hi-tech F35 factory

Fylde aircraft and defence company BAE Systems is showing off the products of its latest production line – apprentices.

Tuesday, 7th April 2015, 10:55 am
The former apprentices now running the hi-tech F35 production line

A group of top employees, all under 30 years of age, were put in the spotlight by the firm as it bids to attract new blood for the future.

Sam Bamber, Jordan Ainsworth, Jack Taylor, Adam Levine and Ryan Pearce are production supervisors at BAE Systems, responsible for delivering aircraft sets to the largest defence programme in the world, the F-35 programme.

All five have risen to the role through the company’s award winning apprenticeship scheme. The company said they have each earned the respect of the workforce through serving their time on the line, absorbing vital know-how from the experienced team around them whilst also bringing fresh ideas to the programme.

The F-35 manufacturing base, where the tails set for the F-35 fleet is crafted, is a state-of-the-art facility.

And BAE bosses say the education and experience delivered as part of the apprenticeship scheme means that, despite their young age, the supervisors are confident in their responsibilities to ensure the aircraft sets are delivered, on time, on quality and on cost.

BAE Systems employs more than 33,000 people in the UK, and is one of the UK’s largest employers of engineers. Its apprentice programme, which has one of the highest completion rates in the engineering sector, was voted ‘outstanding’ by OFSTED in 2010 and has a number of accolades to its name including the National Apprentice Award for the Macro Employer of the Year in 2011.

Adam Levin, 21, from Lytham, is the youngest supervisor to work in the F35 facility. He has been a supervisor for 12 months and is responsible for managing the 12 person team running the aft Integrated Assembly Line.

Apprentices trained by BAE Systems are also boosting companies across the North West.

Following a year of training at BAE Systems’ training school in Preston, 21 engineers and manufacturing apprentices have moved in to 12 companies in the region.

The apprentices, who started training as part of the Employee Ownership Pilot programme, set up to boost skills in supply chain companies and part-funded by Government, have now moved in to the workplaces of their parent companies, with a further 10 apprentices now in training at the training centre.

Later this year, the second cohort will join the workforces of companies throughout the region with a third cohort due to start at the centre from this September.