Salima Bana has recently graduated from the BAE Systems Advanced Engineering Apprenticeship and we recently caught up with her about her experiences.

Over the past two years Salima has been earning while studying and gaining hands on experience across BAE Systems as she completed her apprenticeship. For the past six months, Salima has been working as part of a team that supports aircraft modifications.

“I completed my apprenticeship March but I’ve been in the team for over six months now. We’re currently looking at ways in which virtual reality can help us prepare for modifications on aircraft,” says Salima.

“We can show the engineers what to do and how to do it before they even get into an aircraft, saving time and money – it’s really exciting.”

Salima clearly enjoys her role as a Change Integration Capability Engineer and is passionate about the apprenticeship route, but she hasn’t always been sure what career path she would choose: “I attended two colleges before I decided on my apprenticeship. Firstly I started taking A-Levels in maths and physics but I soon realised it wasn’t for me. So, I moved to another college and undertook a BTEC in Mechanical Engineering.”

Upon completion Salima had the choice of either going to university or enrolling on an apprenticeship.

“The idea of an apprenticeship really appealed to me,” Salima added. “I’ve been working and earning throughout my studies and gaining experience along the way – something you don’t usually get as part of a traditional degree.

“I’ve completed my NVQ Level 3, HNC (Higher National Certificate) and now I’m doing a HND (Higher National Diploma). After another year I’ll be able to complete my degree, with no debt and all the while gaining experience.”

Last year, Salima was the runner up in the North West Aerospace Alliance’s One to Watch award and was invited to speak at BAE Systems’ National Apprentice Awards.

Salima has also spent time in Abu Dabai at the Make It Challenge, which encourages young people to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and maths-related subjects.

Salima adds: “There are so many different apprenticeship options at BAE Systems. I’ve chosen a career in engineering but there are apprenticeships in business and finance too, along with many other areas.

“I’d encourage everyone to consider an apprenticeship, particularly at BAE Systems - there really is something for everyone.”