Almost 350 apprentices will be recruited by BAE Systems in Barrow in 2020, as the company celebrates plans to attract a record number of trainees across the UK.

BAE Systems, which operates its Submarine arm in the town, will take on 800 apprentices, 348 of whom will be based in Barrow.

Five submarines are currently being built at Barrow; the four remaining Astute-class hunter-killer submarines and the Dreadnought, which will carry the UK’s nuclear deterrent.

Charles Woodburn, chief executive of BAE Systems, said: “Our apprentices are the lifeblood of our business.

“I’m incredibly proud of the significant contribution they make to the design and delivery of our most complex products, equipment and services, helping to ensure BAE Systems remains at the forefront of technology and innovation and safeguard our national security for decades to come.

“As technology and our workplace evolves, it’s critical that we continue to invest in training the next generation of engineers and leaders.

“By working alongside industry peers, government and the education sector, we can ensure we are ready to respond to complex challenges of the future.”

BAE Systems invested more than £100 million in education, skills and early careers activities in the UK in 2018 and has around 2,000 apprentices in training across its UK businesses.

The company currently employs more than 34,000 people in the UK and is one of the country’s largest employers of engineers. Around 66 per cent of its staff employed in engineering or engineering-related roles.

Its £25m Submarines Academy for Skills and Knowledge official opened in December 2018.

It delivers training from mechanical and electrical skills to design and project management.

It also includes facilities such as a virtual reality training suite, which allows employees to hone their skills on a virtual submarine before working on the real product.

BAE Systems’ apprentice recruitment ends on February 28.