A NEW recruitment drive for apprentices has been launched on the Clyde.

BAE bosses plan to take on 47 trainees to learn the traditional maritime trades which are needed to build some of the world's most advanced battleships.

The recruitment campaign was launched by BAE Systems Naval Ships, which already employs around 3000 workers at yards at Scotstoun and Govan.

The defence contractor has already hired 267 craft and technician apprentices in Scotland in the past five years – the latest intake will increase that number to more than 310.

Clyde-based HR director Andrew Smith said: "This is an amazing opportunity for anyone interested in a career in design, engineering, fabrication, welding and numerous other roles.

"The lucky applicants will have the opportunity to be part of the team building some amazing ships, including the UK's largest aircraft carriers, the Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales."

BAE Systems is recruiting 387 engineering and business apprentices across the UK – their highest intake since 2008 – and a number will be given the chance to study for degree-level qualifications.

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 our workforce of the future.

"We 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."

Another 58 apprentices are being recruited at a sister yard in Portsmouth.

BAE is taking on 105 trainees across the three yards, despite senior officials warning recently that one of the sites could be axed because of a shortage of orders.

However, sources have suggested the Clyde yards are safe.

Govan apprentice Lyn Gordon hopes so. The 25-year-old steel fabricator from Greenock has just won a business achievement award in BAE's Apprentice Awards in recognition of talks she gives at schools.

Lyn said: "I feel really passionate about my job. When I go and speak to schools I simplify it, adapt it and make interesting for children of different ages."

Colleague Mark Anderson, 27, was named the defence contractor's best apprentice steel fabricator.

Usually based in the Govan yard, he is currently working in Rosyth, helping to build the new Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier.

Applications need to be posted online at www.baesystems.com/apprentices by February 28.

gordon.thomson@ eveningtimes.co.uk