BARROW is set for an apprenticeship bonanza as BAE prepares to recruit thousands of new staff.

Around 1,000 new apprentices and graduates are due to be recruited at Barrow's shipyard next year, the defence firm has announced.

The company is embarking on a major recruitment drive, with Barrow's shipyard due to deliver nuclear submarines as part of the AUKUS agreement between the UK, US and Australia.

BAE estimates it will have around 17,000 workers at its Barrow site by the 2030s, and is also expanding its workforce nationally.

Charles Woodburn, Chief Executive, BAE Systems, said: “As the UK’s largest manufacturer, we have sites located right across the country and we’re investing hundreds of millions of pounds to equip young people with the skills they need to achieve their full potential.

“Providing high quality apprenticeships and graduate programmes gives young people a route into long-term employment and helps to grow the talent we need to deliver vital national defence and security programmes, including future fighter jets, nuclear-powered submarines and low earth orbit satellites.”

Minister for Higher Education, Apprenticeships and Skills, Robert Halfon, welcomed the announcement.

“We need big employers on side in our efforts to build a skills and apprenticeships nation and this record-breaking announcement from BAE Systems is fantastic to see," he said.

“Apprenticeships provide a ladder of opportunity for people to get in-demand skills and really push on in their careers, and these roles offered by a top apprenticeship employer will transform lives and boost growth right around the UK.”

More than 1,400 apprentices will join the company nationally, with the majority of roles based in the north of England and opportunities available across the south of England, Scotland and Wales.

The company also plans to recruit almost 1,300 graduates in 2024 – 1,100 more graduate positions compared to five years ago.

Abbie Cocker, a second year project management degree apprentice at BAE Systems, Submarines in Barrow, said: "I relocated for my role which was daunting at first but meeting new people helped me settle in and made all the difference.

"It’s the best decision I’ve ever made.

"There are lots of opportunities from a social perspective to network and learn more about the wider company."

Last year, BAE Systems says it invested approximately £180 million in education, skills and early careers activities in the UK and currently has more than 5,500 apprentices and graduates in training across its UK businesses, equivalent to more than 10 per cent of its almost 40,000 strong UK workforce.

Apprenticeship applications will close at the end of February, with multiple graduate intakes throughout the year.