A TEAM of nine British Airways apprentices, based at Heathrow, have been selected as finalists in the Brathay Apprentice Challenge 2014.

This national award recognises, among other attributes, achievement in team building and communication, essential skills for those starting out in their careers.

After three months of competition between more than 100 teams of apprentices from around the country, eight teams were selected as finalists after impressing the judges with their energy, enthusiasm and commitment.

The British Airways team was commended for its voluntary work at Orione Care, a home for older people in Kingston, and organising a community project at the Willow Tree Centre in Harefield, which involved clearing land and planting trees following a storm. The team also attended several careers fairs and spoke at schools to promote the value of apprenticeships and the benefits of the British Airways scheme .

Francesca Catling, 19, who lives in the Vine Lane area of Hillingdon, a member of the apprentice team, said: “I would encourage other school leavers to investigate the opportunities offered by apprenticeships – it’s really allowed my career to take off.”

In a final push to showcase their organisational skills and raise money for Comic Relief, the British Airways team has organised a comedy event at the Concorde Club in Cranford tonight (Friday). EastEnders star Shane Ritchie will be hosting the event.

The competition culminates in a series of team building, logistical and physical challenges at Brathay Trust’s Windermere headquarters, where the apprentice team of the year will be announced on June 11.

In 2014, British Airways will employ 185 apprentices across the business, from engineering and operations, to IT, finance and project management.