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Seven BAE Systems Apprentices Head to WorldSkills UK National Final


Seven highly-skilled apprentices from across BAE Systems are gearing up to compete in the WorldSkills UK national final. The apprentices made it to the final after passing two challenging regional qualifiers. The finals will take place between 14 and 18 November across venues in Barking & Dagenham, Belfast Met, Blackpool & The Fylde, Cardiff & Vale, Edinburgh and Middlesbrough College.

Bringing together a range of sectors, the competition will see some of the country’s top apprentices and students from different career paths ranging from machining and tiling to floristry compete in a number of challenges. The finalists will then stand the chance of representing the UK at the ‘Skills Olympics’ in France in 2024. The competitions are designed by industry experts and assess an individual’s knowledge, practical skills and employability attributes against set criteria in a competitive timed environment.

National finals are taking place in 15 countries across Europe, East Asia and North America with more than 1,000 competitors battling it out in the 46th WorldSkills Competition.

Tania Gandamihardja, Group Human Resources Director at BAE Systems, said: “It’s a great honour for our apprentices to be chosen to represent the Company in a prestigious competition such as WorldSkills UK. Our apprentices come from a wide range of backgrounds and represent the many different roles on offer to young people across the UK.”

The seven apprentices taking part work across the Air, Submarines and Electronic Systems sectors:

·     Shaun Eccles, Construction Metal Work Apprentice at Barrow chose a steelworker apprenticeship as it gave him the opportunity to pursue a career in a field that has always interested him whilst staying close to his family.

·     Ethan Elliott, Machine Apprentice at Warton spent his time at school on the wood and metal turning lathes, as well as on a computer numerical control router and laser cutter, inspiring him to become a Machinist.

·     Ella Fairclough, Engineering Apprentice at Warton realised she wanted to do an apprenticeship after taking part in a STEM club at BAE Systems’ Academy for Skills and Knowledge in Samlesbury.

·     Tobias Jones, Engineering Apprentice at Warton grew up in a family of engineers and developed a passion for 3D printing and Computer Aided Design which led to his current apprenticeship.

·     Adam Leech, Finance Apprentice at Warton, started his apprenticeship in January 2021, after leaving university due to costs. He is now in on his fourth placement within the Company’s Air sector.

·     George Shorrock, Accountancy Apprentice at Warton chose an apprenticeship over a university course as he felt it would provide him with extensive work experience over the course of the five years, alongside gaining a Chartered Accountancy qualification.

·     Chloe Thompson, Accountancy Apprentice at Rochester decided to take on an apprenticeship as she valued getting a qualification with on-the-job experience and is now in her fourth year.

Speaking on taking part in the competition, Adam Leech, Finance Apprentice at BAE Systems said: “It’s great to be selected for the national final, having gone through two rounds of qualifiers. The second round was particularly tough with some more complex accounting tasks under very tight time pressure. I’m looking forward to representing BAE Systems, showing that we not only have some of the best engineers in the country but also a world class finance function. And, of course, being very competitive, I’m looking forward to the challenge and hopefully coming out on top.”

Deputy CEO of WorldSkills UK Ben Blackledge said: “I want to offer my congratulations to everyone who registered for our competitions this year, especially those who are now going on to compete in November’s finals. We are really excited to be taking the show on the road again this year with finals hosted by colleges across the UK. We hope seeing the finals in person or catching up with our online content will inspire more young people to develop their skills and have a go at one of our competitions next year.”

BAE Systems will also be sponsoring the WorldSkills UK North-West competition at Blackpool and Fylde College.

Currently, BAE Systems is training over 3,000 apprentices – more than at any other time in the Company’s history. Since September, BAE Systems has taken on 1,067 new apprentices, most of whom are from the north of England and Scotland.

For more information on career opportunities with BAE Systems please visit

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