The firm has agreed to become the main sponsor of the BIBAs Foundation which was set up by the Be Inspired Business Awards and the Lancashire Community Foundation to provide grants of up to £2,000 to support enterprise projects aimed at 16-24 year olds.

The Foundation has already handed out more than £7,000 to initiatives including one to support deaf youngsters set up businesses and another to get young people running an East Lancashire theatre.

Dave Holmes, manufacturing operations director at BAE Systems, will chair the panel set up to consider applications to the Foundation which includes Ian Hall, Chairman of Preston-based retail group, James Hall and Sons, and the winner of the BIBAs Lancastrian of the Year award in September. Dave Holmes explained: “BAE Systems is delighted to support the BIBAs Foundation in its mission to boost the opportunities available to young people in our community.

“We have a long history of investing in young people through our apprenticeship and graduate programme and, more recently, by providing training for other North West aerospace businesses through our Employer Ownership 
Scheme.

“I am looking forward to hearing from groups and individuals who are actively promoting enterprise in Lancashire and would benefit from support from the BIBAs Foundation.”

BAE Systems will also sponsor a new prize being handed out at the BIBAs next September to recognise the Most Inspiring Young Person of the Year with nominations coming from the groups supported by grants from the Foundation.