BAE shot down at Careers fair
A student pressure group is campaigning for a major graduate employer to be banned from University careers fairs.
‘Campaign Against Arms Trade’ (CAAT) has called for the ban of British Aeronautical Engineering Systems (BAE) from university recruitment fairs.
BAE Systems builds fighter aircrafts, tanks and munitions and the largest arms producer in the world.
CAAT is a non-violent pressure group, raising approximately 80 per cent of its income from individual supporters. The latest campaign of the organisation aims to bring a massive reduction in the number of people who are employed by BAE Systems after they graduate from university.
CAAT regards the work of BAE Systems as unethical and destructive for many reasons. Abi Haque, CAAT Universities’ Network Co-ordinator has recently stated: “The arms industry has a devastating impact on human rights and security.” For this reason, she argues “Education and arms companies should not mix.”
BAE conversely argues that it is vital at this point in time to recruit university students, especially in engineering and sciences. New staff are considered of utmost necessity in order to research, design, build, market and sell the next generation of equipment.
Richard Oliver, chairman of BAE presents this as a national emergency, stating in the Telegraph that, “Without action, the UK’s widening skills gap will become an irreversible gulf.”
CAAT is urging activists to ensure that BAE Systems is met with campus protests every time it participates in career fairs or other recruitment events.
The aim is to make BAE realise that attending such events is not worth their while, and to shut down their main connection with students.
In previous years the work of CAAT has been hugely successful, using methods such as confiscating promotional materials, removing displays and having grim reapers looming over stalls. In widening the gap between universities and the arms trade in Leeds, CAAT hopes this year will be equally interesting and successful.
The University of Edinburgh has also been taking similar action against BAE when a careers fair was brought to a halt last week.
Around a dozen protesters from the Edinburgh branch of ‘Students for Justice in Palestine’ which is also affiliated with the CAAT, gathered at the fair in a passive protest against BAE System’s commercial relationship with Israel. Police were called to the event and they emptied the hall during the 30-minute protest, refusing to allow anyone to enter the room.
The University of Edinbrugh also withdrew all shares in the company in 2005 following pressure from a student campaign.