• Tuesday, July 23, 2024

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Flying high with BAE Systems

An apprenticeship at the company offers ‘almost limitless’ career opportunities

CLEARING UP MISCONCEPTIONS: Fatima Munshi

By: Eastern Eye

FATIMA MUNSHI, 18, is a first year supply chain apprentice at BAE Systems in Samlesbury working on military aircraft programmes.

“My role supports the development of Tempest, the UK’s next-generation fighter aircraft, at our cutting-edge research and development centre – FalconWorks,” explained Fatima.

“I began working on Tempest in my first placement. It was such a unique experience being able to work on one of the most exciting technology programmes in the world as soon as I had left school.

“I then moved on to work on the F-35 aircraft supply chain which exposed me to the vast organisation surrounding an ongoing major programme.

“I’m now back working on Tempest and it’s incredible to see how much change there has already been in a matter of months. Moving around the business and BAE Systems’ commitment to supporting my development is the best part about working here and the future opportunities that are available to me are almost limitless.

“I knew early on that university wasn’t the route I wanted to go down and I’ve always loved the idea of learning on the job. I preferred the idea of being able to get stuck in and develop new skills without incurring debt from tuition fees. It’s also a dream of mine to be able to travel and work abroad.

“BAE Systems’ global footprint provides me with an array of workplace location opportunities for my future career path.”

Fatima was born and raised in Preston and attended Penwortham Girls’ High School. It was here where she embarked on a work experience stint with BAE Systems and spent a ‘virtual week’ during the Covid-19 pandemic learning more about the company.

This experience made her set on venturing into a career with BAE Systems and she successfully applied to be a supply chain practitioner apprentice.

“There are a lot of misconceptions about apprenticeships and what they can offer,” she said. “For some people, continuing on the academic route is a viable option, but I was keen to get into the workplace and earn while I learn.

“And when I complete my apprenticeship that’s not the end of my development – there are opportunities for me to undertake more qualifications and learning experiences or embark on a career change, if it’s something I want.”

Like many young people, Fatima had an ever-changing idea of what she wanted to do when she grew up, including being an entrepreneur or teacher. Her apprenticeship is flexible and allows her to pursue her passions.

For the past six years, she has been volunteering at a local institute where she teaches children with learning disabilities and language barriers who are hindered in standard learning classroom environments.

Fatima hopes the flexibility and range of benefits will convince more people to go down the apprenticeship route.

“Doing an apprenticeship at BAE Systems allows you to work in so many different areas,” she said.

“So even if you’re unsure about what you want to do exactly, don’t worry because there’s always room for change and everyone is entitled to move around as they gradually understand the career path they want to take.

“It has been one of the best decisions I have made. The sky is the limit for my peers and I as we take a lot of inspiration from the countless BAE Systems’ directors, managers and programme leaders who started their career with an apprenticeship.”

RS3828 hpr
The Tempest fighter jet

INSPIRED by Fatima’s story? BAE Systems recruits for thousands of entry-level positions every year, whether that’s straight out of school, college or graduate roles with routes for both traditional academic studies and more vocational avenues.

To help you, we’ve provided the best advice from our recruitment team in order to help your application stand out from the crowd.

Have confidence in yourself

Going through an application process can be daunting, and it’s only natural to question yourself, especially if you’re applying for your first role.

There’s no such thing as a conventional route into an engineering or technology career, and the industry thrives on hiring people with different skills and viewpoints – focus on what will make you a great hire. Remember, no one is expecting you to be perfect or have vast experience – companies are focused on your potential at entry level.

Do your research

While you don’t need to memorise the entire history of the company you’re applying to, you do need to do some research. Make sure you have a good understanding of what the company does, the industry it sits in and what the role you’re applying for involves. Depending on how far in advance you’re searching, try and secure any relevant work experience you can in your chosen field.

Social media channels are just as useful in getting to know a company and its people as the official website pages. Also, take notice of any existing employee case studies and experiences like Fatima’s as they will give you a flavour of what you can expect.

Make sure to reference this knowledge and research when you are at the application and interview stages.

Show your passion for technology

Engineering and technology is an exciting industry to be in as it shapes every aspect of our day-to-day lives.

If applying for a role in the sector, make sure to demonstrate your techsavviness throughout the process. Remember, it’s not all about coding and developing either – the industry requires a range of skills.

In your application, make sure to highlight what areas of technology excite you and why; these could be current developments or future trends.

Ask questions

Whether it’s at an in-person interview or on an assessment day, remember that asking questions shows you’re engaged and want to learn more. You can ask about training and development opportunities, the company’s viewpoint on a specific topic, or the interviewer’s own experience at the company.

Candidates who are engaged and ask questions throughout the process always stand out.

Highlight your key skills

It’s important to highlight your skills alongside any qualifications you have. Recruiters look at the ‘Personal Achievements’ section just as closely as they look at qualifications.

You can discuss how you managed your own time by completing a big coursework project, or taught yourself a new skill outside of school. Give specific, detailed examples and answer the open-ended questions – what you did, why you did it, and how you achieved it.

Audit your social media

Social media can be a great tool during the job application process, from following leaders at the company you’re applying to on LinkedIn or joining networking groups with other candidates.

However, social media can also be a revealing window into our lives. Before applying to a company, take some time to audit your social media accounts, review the privacy settings and remove anything that you wouldn’t want a potential future employer to see.

The closing date for apprentice applications is February 28, 2024.

There are multiple graduate intakes throughout the year, including January, April, July and September.

Find out more and apply at baesystems.com/earlycareers

Early careers opportunities are just one part of the company’s wider recruitment drive. BAE Systems is currently recruiting thousands of skilled workers from steelworkers to data scientists across the UK.

Find out more and apply at baesystems.com/experiencedprofessionals

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