SingaporeBAE Systems Australia has welcomed its largest group of aerospace apprentices and first cohort of trainee aircraft engineers as the company expands its sustainment operations in response to the Royal Australian Air Force’s growing F-35 fleet and the Hawk Lead-In Fighter training aircraft.

The 2023 intake has increased threefold to include 18 apprentices and seven aircraft engineers working at the company’s Williamtown and Pearce sites and takes the total number of apprentices across the Aerospace business to 30.

A number of the new recruits met with the Minister for Training and Skills, Brendan O’Connor, when he visited BAE Systems Williamtown facilities, north of Newcastle this week. Employees at Williamtown deliver a comprehensive maintenance and sustainment program for the Royal Australian Air Force. The students will undertake theoretical study before commencing the practical component of their certification with BAE Systems.

Once qualified, the apprentices and aircraft engineers will be equipped with the skills required to maintain and sustain the Hawk Lead-In Fighter and F-35, which play a critical role in the capability of the RAAF. The Tighes Hill TAFE NSW Campus in Newcastle will host an open day in May for students, friends and families. BAE Systems is attending the activity, strengthening the growing relationship between the company and TAFE NSW.

Minister for Training and Skills, Brendan O’Connor, said: “Seeing more people take-up apprenticeships in the aerospace sector is not only fantastic for students but also for Australia, with a strong skilled workforce vital to our future defence capabilities.”

BAE Systems Australia, Director Aerospace, Andrew Chapman, said: “Congratulations to all our new apprentices and aircraft engineers. It is wonderful to watch these newcomers work towards developing a career supporting the Australian Defence Force. The collaboration between BAE Systems Australia and TAFE NSW is a key part of our plans to grow a future aviation workforce in New South Wales and Western Australia that will sustain the Hawk and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter fleets. Recruitment on this scale is critical for the development of our nation’s Aerospace industry and plays a key role in safeguarding and increasing the capability of the Australian Defence Force.”

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