Posted on Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Workforce-WednesdayFor Sarah Canclini going into the BAE Systems Registered Apprenticeship program should have been a type of homecoming. She joined the Navy straight out of high school but her experience was limited to working on ships’ decks. “I never went into the engine room the entire time I was a sailor!” she laughs.

Sarah first heard about BAE Systems’ registered apprenticeship program after leaving the Navy, while she was working as a kitchen supervisor at Cinema Café. “My grandfather worked for a shipyard and encouraged me to look into apprenticeship to learn a trade and get a good, solid job.”

During the four-year program all apprentices work under an experienced mentor to learn a specific trade. Sarah did “a lot of prefabrication work on ships – installing and removing stuff so that ships could be repaired, maintained, and improved.”

Sarah is confident about her future at BAE Systems Ship Repair. “There’s a lot of room for me to grow from where I am right now,” says Sarah. As an aging workforce retires, apprentice graduates are often quickly promoted. However for Sarah opportunities for advancement aren’t limited to the workplace. “BAE has already paid for me to earn my Career Studies Certificate in Maritime Technologies at Tidewater Community College where I’m the first person to earn the SMART A.A.S. Maritime Technologies degree. Being an apprentice has given me more than just a job – it’s given me the opportunity to learn great skills, get a great education, and get started on a career path that involves really important work every day.”

See more of Sarah’s story on the SMART Center’s “Make the SMART Choice” video series. 

-Katie Adams, Marketing Outreach, Communication and Website Director, SMART (Southeast Maritime and Transportation) Center.

The SMART Center is a National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education (NSF ATE) Center (funded by a $2.9 million grant in 2010) and the only NSF ATE Center focused on career pathways for the maritime and transportation industry.

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Virginia's Community Colleges

Created more than 50 years ago, the VCCS is comprised of 23 community colleges located on 40 campuses across the commonwealth. Together, Virginia’s Community Colleges serve about 400,000 students a year in credit and workforce courses.

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