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BAE Boosts Apprentice Intake To Five-Year High

(c) Sky News 2013

Defence giant BAE Systems (LSE: BA.L - news) has announced plans to recruit its largest apprentice intake for five years.

The Farnborough-based firm says it will take on 387 engineering and business apprentices in 2013, 60 more than in 2012.

The new level tops the apprentice intake of 2008, which stood at 347.

The company said the new recruits would work across various divisions of the company.

Last September BAE's apprenticeship intake included 55% aged between 16 and 18, 39% between the ages of 19 and 24 and 6% over 25.

This year's 'higher apprenticeships' are principally for post-A level applicants and will make up around 10% of the intake.

Nearly two-thirds of the apprentices will join naval programmes and 144 apprentices will join the Cumbrian submarine-building business at Barrow-in-Furness.

A further 105 positions are for employees at shipbuilding and naval support sites at Portsmouth and Glasgow.

The high rate of naval positions comes after BAE won a £1.2bn contract to build the new hunter-killer submarine, HMS Audacious, in Cumbria.

The military aircraft business at Warton and Samlesbury in Lancashire and its aircraft maintenance academy at Robin Hood Airport in Doncaster have been allocated 109 trainees.

The Rochester-based Electronics Systems business in Kent is to recruit 12 staff and the company's cyber security firm in Leeds, Detica, is to employ 10 more apprentices.

BAE has a workforce of 35,000 and is the largest employer of engineers in Britain but the firm has come under pressure amid global defence cuts and has slashed thousands of jobs since 2011.

Last year a £28bn merger between BAE and European rival EADS (Paris: NL0000235190 - news) collapsed amid demands from big shareholders for better terms and claims of politicisation of the plan.

BAE's first half revenue for 2012 plunged 11% to £8.33bn , prompted by large defence cuts in the US, as pre-tax profits during the period to June 30 sunk 5.2% to £655m.

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