| BAE Systems | Graduate Development Framework


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BAE Systems - Graduate Development Framework

Industry Other
Functional area
  • General Management
  • HR / Organization
  • Marketing & Sales
  • Operations
  • Research & Development
Duration 2 years
Region Europe
Location United Kingdom
Language requirements English (Fluent)
Salary GBP 26500
Mentorship program Yes
Preferred study background
  • Business Studies
  • Engineering
Recruitment process
  • Online application
  • Telephone interview
  • Face-to-face interview
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Required skills

Leadership 7
Team working 7
Problem solving 7
Communication 6
Creativity 6
Commercial Awareness 6
Pressure Resistance 7
Flexibility 7
Networking 7


It’s our principal route into Engineering – which includes Systems, Software, Support, Electrical and Electronic, Mechanical, Structures, Project Management and Manufacturing – and also into Business functions – which include Project Management, Procurement, Commercial, Human Resources and Sales & Marketing.

Whether you’re helping develop the next generation of submarines or working out how best to train our Typhoon teams, you’ll be gaining involvement and developing your skills within a tested and common structure. This will speed your initial development and support your transition into our business and its many challenging projects.

During this important and formative two-year period, you can expect a valuable mix of on-the-job training and external learning that will build your technical knowledge and behavioural skills tailored to your individual needs.

You can also expect to attend our Graduate Conference – an event run every year by our graduates, for our graduates. The Graduate Conference is an opportunity for the graduate community at BAE Systems to get together: to exchange ideas, build a network and share knowledge. It’s also the perfect opportunity to meet with senior managers, hear about the different projects that are happening throughout BAE Systems and find out a little more about what your peers are working on.

Engineering roles
Engineering excellence is the foundation and future of our business. We have over 18,000 engineers in the UK and more than 30,000 in total, responsible for the design, development, testing, production, delivery, commissioning and maintenance of our products.
And what products they are. Imagine working on projects that could involve thousands of people. Perhaps you’ll be helping to provide ongoing support for our existing products in service? Maybe you’ll be part of the team helping to develop the next generation of unmanned air vehicles, or the naval ships of the future.

With BAE Systems, you can become a renowned engineering expert in a whole range of important functions.

  • Systems Engineers: an essential discipline in the lifespan of products that include land, sea and air platforms, as well as large-scale communications, training and operational systems and development of operational capability.
  • Support Engineers: involved in all aspects of in-service support, including designing support services, support systems or test equipment. There’s much more to it as well. Remember, after all, that our contracts often run for decades, employ thousands of people and are valued in £hundreds of millions.
  • Software Engineers: involved in the full lifecycle of our many electronic products, from identifying initial requirements through to design, implementation, test phases and product qualification. Just so that you know, many of our large scale or distributed systems use Operating Systems such as Microsoft Windows.
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineers: make decisions about electronic product content, optimising hardware and software design concepts and synthesising design from a range of components and advanced technology options. There are other aspects to these roles as well, from developing sophisticated design processes through to developing and testing complex and intelligent products. Aerodynamics and hydrodynamics are all part of the fun here too!
  • Manufacturing and Production: a diverse part of our organisation that spans most of BAE Systems’ business units and offers graduates exposure to all sorts of areas that could include Enterprise Management, IT, Control and Logistics, Direct Material Procurement and many others besides.
  • Mechanics and Structures: covers Physical, Structural and Mechanical Systems through analysis, design, development and test of complex and intelligent products. It includes aerodynamics and hydrodynamics.
  • Manufacturing Engineers: help ensure that our products can actually be manufactured by participating in the early stages of a product’s lifecycle. Then, once all the development phases are complete, they turn our world-leading design capability into physical products.
  • Research Scientists/Engineers: are the people who undertake research, assist with winning business and acquiring technology. You’ll already be producing outputs which will demonstrate systematic research methods and original thought – imagine putting these to work in a business where you can see these ideas come alive. You may even find yourself presenting your results at technical seminars.

As you can see, we really do have a vast range of opportunities for graduates from all engineering, numerate and scientific subjects, so if you’re studying for a qualification in another engineering discipline, we’d still like to hear from you.

Business roles
Don’t think for a moment that opportunities here are only engineering-related. The delivery of £multi-billion projects means we need experts in a wide range of important business functions. These include:

  • Project Management: takes place right across our business units, including land, sea, air, support and electronic systems. Take the groundbreaking work we’re doing on the Typhoon, Type 45 destroyers or Astute submarines, for example. Although, in reality, most of these programmes are broken down into a series of smaller, integrated work packages, they all need outstanding project management skills.
  • Procurement: we spend over £5 billion a year with some 15,000 suppliers. So, whether you choose air, land or sea projects, be in no doubt that this function is of vital importance and just the place for a varied and exciting career.
  • Commercial: we’re partners in some of the highest profile defence projects in the world, and we’re continually winning new business. Our varied work includes estimating, bidding for, negotiating and managing complex contracts. Our mission is making sure our customers get the most innovative solutions, in a way that delivers both competitive advantage and profitability.
  • Human Resources: It is our people that allow BAE Systems to produce such amazing work and it is Human Resources that adds real value to BAE Systems through the strategic management of our people agenda. Resourcing, learning and development, reward and recognition, employee communications, employee relations and many other important issues are the remit of Human Resources.
  • Sales & Marketing: as a global leader, BAE Systems enjoys reach into markets worldwide. Managing and delivering the activity that initiates our bid activity and maintaining the best possible relationships with our customers, Sales & Marketing are key to the current and future success of the company. If you join this area, expect to be work in teams that lead integrated marketing campaigns, working with customer organisations as well as our central Marketing function.

Now you can see why we’d still like to hear from you even if you’re studying for a qualification in a non-engineering discipline. Ours is a big, big business, and that means opportunity in every area of business management.

Programme Timeline

Buddying: When you accept your offer at BAE Systems, we’ll assign you a 'buddy’. This will be someone on the second year of their GDF scheme, who will help you to find your way around and settle into your new environment.

Start of development milestones

Induction: On your first day, and before you are met by your line manager, we will take you through the local information and company benefits that are relevant to your site.

Graduate Welcome Briefing: This short but important briefing is designed to give you specific information on the key elements of the GDF and how to make it work for you - not to be missed!

Graduate Development Programme: The Graduate Development Programme (GDP) complements role specific on-the-job training and supports your first few years with the Company. This takes you out of your normal business environment to attend three interactive residential modules. These modules are based on BAE Systems' values and include teamwork, building successful working partnerships, innovation and creativity. Not only do these modules add to your skill set, they are an excellent opportunity to network with other graduates across the business and learn more about the company.

Corporate Mentoring: You will be allocated a corporate mentor - typically one of the company's most senior managers who will act as a 'sounding board' during the early stages of your career. This relationship is designed to give you the opportunity to engage in open discussion, objective feedback and guidance regarding your future within BAE Systems.

Graduate Conference: All of our graduates attend this annual event at least once. Run by graduates, senior BAE Systems managers and outside speakers are invited to present, and there are team activities covering a wide spectrum of business-related topics. There is also a formal evening event, which is always memorable. The conference offers a great chance to network with people throughout the business, and is fully supported by the company as we see it as a crucial part of graduates' learning process. It’s also a great way to see the sort of work that your peers are involved in.
Continual support

Professional ‘Developing You’ Programmes: These programmes are designed to offer ongoing development and education in your chosen profession.

On-line Learning: You will be able to access over 500 personal and professional development courses from your work computer, via our e-learning or local learning resource centres. These include everything from language courses to e-packages covering a range of subjects.

Stretch Assignments: There are lots of opportunities to continually stretch yourself throughout your GDF including participating in company charity events, assisting at graduate recruitment events, becoming involved in education liaison activities and lots more.

Internal Website: There is a dedicated internal corporate website that provides lots of information about all aspects of the GDF. Local graduate websites are also used to keep you up to date with events.

Graduate Forums: Generally organised by graduates for graduates, these are designed as a mechanism where local graduates can provide feedback to the company on the GDF and organise additional activities to support their GDF.


If you want to start your career at BAE Systems in engineering, we will ask for a minimum 2:2 honours degree in an engineering discipline and 220 UCAS points (or equivalent excluding General Studies).

If it’s a non-engineering career that you’re hoping to start with us, you need a minimum 2:1 honours degree in any discipline and 280 UCAS points (or equivalent excluding General Studies).

Many of our Business Groups within BAE Systems are engaged in government work with classified aspects; you must therefore have a UK work permit and be able to successfully achieve security clearance to join the Graduate Development Framework.