/ News / State of the art Training Academy for Enterprise Zone

Work has begun on BAE Systems’ new £15.6m state-of-the-art facility to train future apprentices on a single site within the Lancashire Enterprise Zone in Samlesbury.

The start of construction was marked by a ground-breaking ceremony, and coincided with a new cohort of apprentices joining BAE Systems’ Military Air and Information (MA&I) business.  The new facility will be completed in time for the 2016 apprenticeship intake.

Edwin Booth, Chair of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership said: “The launch of work on this fantastic new training facility is an important milestone for the Enterprise Zone, which is one of the major initiatives that the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership is leading on to help create growth, jobs and prosperity across the county.

“The Enterprise Zone will form a centre of excellence for high-technology manufacturing and build on Lancashire’s significant track-record in this sector of industry.  Ensuring that we continue to produce new generations of young people with the skills to succeed in the high-tech economy is vitally important for the future and the new academy will make a valuable contribution.”

The Training Academy will provide a flexible, modern environment allowing for better engagement with schools, as well as greater capacity for overtraining to ensure other companies in the supply chain and sector have the skills they need for the long term.

BAE Systems’ significant investment in the new Training Academy highlights the key role apprentices play in the Company’s commitment to develop the highly skilled workforce required to continue developing world-leading technology to meet its Customers’ needs.

BAE Systems is one of the largest employers of apprentices in the UK and it invests around £80m per year in training and skills.

At any one time there are more than 1,000 apprentices in training across the UK and in July, the Company committed to significantly grow the number of apprentices in training to 2,000 by 2018.

Local Growth and Northern Powerhouse Minister James Wharton said:

“Training and skills are vital to the success of the Northern Powerhouse and this BAE Systems centre shows how effective cooperation between the private sector, councils and Enterprise Zones can be.

“I am really pleased to see such a vital project getting underway, driving growth, creating jobs and building the skills that will guarantee the future success of the local area.”

Chris Boardman, Managing Director of BAE Systems Military Air and Information business commented:

“The ground breaking is a significant milestone in this exciting development that will provide cutting-edge facilities and greater capacity for future apprentices joining our business.

“I am extremely proud of our apprenticeship programme and the role it plays in ensuring we continue to develop world-class skills to create world-class technology.”

The Company’s apprentice programme, which has one of the highest completion rates in the engineering sector, has a number of accolades to its name including the National Apprentice Award for the Macro Employer of the Year in 2011.

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