British Airways (BA) recruits between 120 and 200 apprentices each year and over the coming decade plans for 1,400 new young apprentices to join the airline. Through the scheme, BA offers apprentices the opportunity to be paid to work while gaining and refining the essential skills they need to launch their careers.

Apprentices enter disciplines such as engineering, business support, world cargo, operations, financial services, information technology, project management and at the head office, gaining nationally-recognised qualifications and workplace training in a dynamic and challenging industrial environment.

In 2012, a total of 120 apprentices entered the engineering industrial programme, a three year apprenticeship which is run in conjunction with four colleges – Brooklands, Farnborough, Kingston and Uxbridge. The first year, in full-time college, is spent gaining theoretical and practical skills in aircraft maintenance, with four weeks experience at Heathrow. Fixed term contracts are then awarded to successful applicants, in which they will work four days a week at Heathrow and spend one day per week in continuing college work.

In partnership with Uxbridge College, BA launched two IT apprenticeship courses in 2012, one in software engineering and a second in IT operations, aimed at finding ‘the IT talent of the future’.

In addition to the apprenticeship initiative, BA’s Community Investment Team has welcomed more than 80,000 local school children through its Community Learning Centre. The centre helps to prepare children for the workplace in many ways, including language training, developing customer service, IT skills, general workplace behaviours and an understanding of the environment.