She’s gone from serving behind a pharmacy counter to helping produce world-class nuclear submarines for the Royal Navy.
Former retail Assistant Manager Kym Bales is forging a new career as a Higher Apprentice with BAE Systems Submarines in Barrow.
The 29-year-old made the switch just over a year ago because she was looking for a challenging role and the chance to progress her career, but also the flexibility to spend time with her four-year-old daughter.
Studying for a Project Management Degree Apprenticeship at the Barrow site offers all of that, and more. The academic requirements she needed were the A-Levels she had achieved 10 years previously.
Kym, from Barrow, says: “I’m so pleased I made the decision, I’ve really enjoyed it and I feel I’m making good progress.
“With a Higher Apprenticeship you’re able to study for your degree, and the Company pays for it.”
Working flexible hours from Monday to Friday, and with weekends and holiday periods off, Kym is able to combine a flourishing career with a fulfilling home life.
She says: “I enjoyed my previous role in retail, but there was little chance to progress, and I was working long hours and weekends.
“Now I’m being given the opportunity to experience different functions within the Submarines business. It’s really eye opening and I can spend weekends, and times like Christmas, with my daughter.”
At work, Kym is one of nearly 200 Higher Apprentices who each spend time with different functions within the submarines business. The rotation help establish where they will be best utilised as full-time employees.
Kym says: “I’ve spent time with Governance and Assurance, Site and Facilities and with the submarine programmes.
“Being a little older helps me appreciate how much more BAE Systems offers than other employers. It’s an opportunity I’m taking with both hands.”