SCORES of apprenticeships are up for grabs at BAE System’s Hampshire base.

The defence, security and aerospace firm is set to recruit 60 new apprentices at its ship-building and naval support site in Portsmouth.

The young trainees will join the team that helped build the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.

BAE’s recruitment drive comes as the multi-national firm prepares to take on almost 400 engineering and business apprentices across the UK during 2013 – its highest intake since 2008.

The new apprentices will work at numerous sites up and down the country, with 144 young people joining the submarine building business at Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, with 105 people spread across sites in Portsmouth and Glasgow.

A further 109 trainees will join the military aircraft side of the business at Warton and Samlesbury in Lancashire, while the Rochesterbased electronics systems business is hiring a dozen youngsters.

The announcement comes as Prime Minister David Cameron continues to urge businesses across the country to take on apprentices to stimulate economic growth through manufacturing, exports and infrastructure.

Almost ten per cent of the new recruits will join the five-year Higher Apprentice Programme, which combines on-the-job training with the opportunity to study degree-level qualifications, free from tuition fees.

BAE Systems’ training scheme, which has one of the highest completion rates in the engineering sector, was rated ‘outstanding’ by OFSTED in July 2010.

Group managing director, Nigel Whitehead, said: “Our continued commitment to the apprentice programme reflects the sustainable position of our UK business and the success of the programme in generating BAE Systems’ workforce of the future. We like to train people from an early age and find that the combination of on-the-job training and academic study without debt, is a great motivator for our apprentices to stay with us.

“We look forward to welcoming our new intake in September.”

Applications for the roles close on February 28.