Aerospace giant BAE Systems is hiring a record number of new trainees despite the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
More than 850 apprenticeships and 400 graduate roles will be available across the UK next year.
Around 75% of apprenticeships and more than half of graduate positions are based in the north of England.
New recruits will have the chance to be involved in programmes including Tempest, a future combat air system for the Royal Air Force and Dreadnought, a new generation of submarines for the Royal Navy.
Charles Woodburn, chief executive of BAE Systems, said: “Getting people back to work and creating high-quality jobs is a national priority.
“So, it’s more important than ever that those of us who are in a position to do so continue our investment in the UK workforce.
“We’re fortunate that our business is based on long-term critical defence programmes, giving us the confidence to increase our apprentice and graduate recruitment to create a strong talent pipeline, which enables us to continue delivering cutting-edge technologies, whilst playing a role in supporting the UK’s economic recovery.”
BAE Systems said it has recruited around 20 apprentices from other companies who were no longer able to continue with their programmes.
The company is also taking part in the Government’s Kickstart scheme which will enable it to offer six-month job placements to a further 30 young people as well as recruiting more than 200 students for industrial placements or summer internships.
Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “BAE’s announcement is tremendously positive news for UK manufacturing. It is absolutely essential that despite the pandemic, companies continue to invest in the future.
“For those wanting to start their working life in this industry, this is particularly great news, especially with opportunities for young workers few and far between thanks to the pandemic.
“Without a steady stream of apprentices there is a real danger of skills being lost. Apprentices are the future of the UK’s manufacturing industry.
“Continuing apprentice recruitment is essential to tackle the long-term skills crisis which is holding back UK manufacturing.”