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Securing the UK’s future with apprentices

Securing the UK’s future with apprentices

Chief Executive of Raytheon UK, Jeff Lewis, pictured second from the right with apprentices

Jeff Lewis, Chief Executive | Raytheon UK

4 min read Partner content

Last month, Raytheon UK attended the ADS Annual Apprenticeship Reception in Parliament to celebrate the impact of apprentices across the country. Find out how the next generation of experts is helping the UK to realise its defence objectives.

As the world, and the UK in particular, continues to contend with a STEM skills shortage it is now more essential than ever to develop long term strategic solutions. That’s why at Raytheon UK, we embrace every route into industry. We believe apprenticeships offer great opportunities for anyone building a career or skill in the cyber, defence, space or aviation sector – talent that will help plug the growing skills gap in these markets.

As an industry we are making progress, with apprentices now making up more than 5% of the UK’s aerospace, defence, security and space sectors workforce. We remain committed to facilitating a future where apprenticeships are a real alternative to attending university and a route to better paid, highly skilled jobs that embrace innovation, and enhance the productivity of our sector and economy.

To this end, we recently attended the ADS Annual Apprenticeship Reception at the Palace of Westminster, where early careers employees from across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, including from Raytheon Technologies’ companies – Raytheon UK, Collins Aerospace and Pratt & Whitney, gathered to celebrate apprenticeships in the UK.

As an apprentice myself years ago, I know what a valuable experience it is. I was not only able to study and learn essential skills but gain independence whilst building invaluable relationships with my mentors and teachers. Hearing from our apprentices at the reception reaffirmed my view that regardless of age, alternatives to university, such as technical or academic apprenticeships, offer exciting routes into high-tech, high-skill, high-wage careers.

Amidst live and increasing geopolitical threats, it is more important than ever to protect our interests at home and abroad.

We are investing in game-changing technology, skills and innovation to keep the UK at the cutting edge of defence. At the same time, we are also delivering on our commitment to our people, our principles, and our planet and supporting businesses, communities and SMEs up and down the country. I am proud of the leading role that Raytheon UK plays across all these areas.

Indeed, our cyber apprenticeship program – the first-ever offered by a UK defence company – has trained more than 200 apprentices over the last three years at a critical time when the UK is under increasing cyber threat.

We will continue to play our part in keeping the UK at the forefront of global cyber security as we train a new generation of cybersecurity experts to keep us ahead of emerging threats, spreading opportunity to all, across every region of the UK.

Adele is flying high with aeronautical mechanical apprenticeship

Adele, Aeronautical Mechanical Apprentice at Raytheon UK, speaking about her experience in Parliament

Passionate about metal work and design technology, Adele quickly discovered she enjoyed making things, but found she wasn’t suited to a traditional educational approach.

Now in her third year as an aeronautical mechanical apprentice, Adele has gone from strength to strength and even took home a bronze medal in the 2021 World Skills UK Competition in late November, building on a gold medal in Skills Competition Wales earlier last year.

“I was doing maths, physics and design technology in the hopes to go to university to do some sort of engineering,” she said.

“But I really struggled with the structure of it all, and I felt like if I didn’t enjoy A-Levels, I wouldn’t enjoy university. So, I thought I’d go to the engineering college and do an NVQ and do a lot more practical stuff.”

After enrolling at Coleg Cambria in Wrexham, Adele’s confidence immediately increased and with it, her success. She now remains focused on the lengthy process of earning her engineering license, a substantial step that will see her responsible for approving aircraft as “ready to fly.”

“I love being asked ‘What do you do?’ because people always think I’m at university, and they might not know what an apprenticeship is. They’re always shocked when I tell them, ‘I work on planes’ or ‘I helped with an engine swap today.’”

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