Defence Minister praises Scottish shipbuilding apprentices

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The Minister for Defence Procurement, James Cartlidge, alongside apprentices. UK MOD © Crown copyright MOD News / Editorial Licence.

The important role apprentices play in driving innovation in British shipbuilding was recognised during a ministerial visit to key defence sites in Scotland this week.

Visiting Govan and Rosyth, Minister for Defence Procurement, James Cartlidge, met apprentices and workers, witnessing first-hand the construction of several new Royal Navy ships, including HMS Cardiff, HMS Glasgow, HMS Venturer and HMS Active.

The Minister received a full briefing regarding the progress on the build of the Type 26s currently happening in Govan and Scotstoun, and met with Babcock CEO, David Lockwood for a look at the Type 31s being built in Rosyth. Over the course of the build, Babcock will take on more than 500 apprentices.

Through the National Shipbuilding Office, the Government is committed to working closely with British industry to help the shipbuilding sector maximise its potential, creating more skilled jobs and levelling up communities in Scotland.

Touring the sites of BAE Systems and Babcock, the Minister spoke with workers and 180 apprentices and thanked them for their crucial role in building the future fleet of the Royal Navy.

Minister for Defence Procurement, James Cartlidge, said:

It was great to meet and chat with the skilled workers and apprentices who are working hard to design, manufacture and build the future fleet for our Royal Navy.

I’m pleased that a career in the defence sector can provide these unique opportunities and skilled technical training for young people, whilst making a huge contribution to the Scottish economy.

James Cartlidge MP Minister of State (Minister for Defence Procurement). Photographer: Cpl Tim Hammond. UK MOD © Crown copyright – MOD Crown Copyright News / Editorial Licence.

Babcock currently have more than 180 apprentices and 3,500 people employed in Scotland, with these numbers only set to grow in the coming years. In addition to this, Babcock have 1030 apprentices and more than 360 graduates across the UK. Babcock has invested £35 million in a new digitally enabled build hall at its Rosyth facility, with the Venturer Building capable of housing two Type 31s frigates side by side for parallel build and assembly, supporting increased productivity gains through improved access to the platforms and digital connectivity.

BAE systems in Glasgow currently have 3,750 employees and around 600 apprentices and graduates in Glasgow. In 2024, they are set to recruit almost 2,700 apprentices and graduates across the UK, with 300 based in Glasgow. In addition, construction has begun on a new £12m Applied Shipbuilding Academy at BAE Systems’ Scotstoun shipyard, which will develop the existing workforce and attract new talent to the historic profession of shipbuilding.

Additionally, construction of a modern shipbuilding hall in Govan is underway and, together with a range of additional investments in technologies and equipment, it forms part of an overall £300m investment in the two sites in Glasgow over the next five years.

David Lockwood CEO, Babcock said:

We were delighted to host the Minister for Defence Procurement, James Cartlidge MP, at our Rosyth site ahead of Scottish Apprenticeship week.

Apprenticeships play a really important role in workforces across the UK, ensuring we can sustain the technical skills needed to continue to deliver critical national defence programmes, while offering exciting opportunities with direct benefits to local communities.

Simon Lister, Managing Director of Naval Ships at BAE Systems said:

We have a proud tradition of equipping our apprentices with the skills and training needed to develop long and rewarding careers. They are the next generation of shipbuilders that will design and build ships for the Royal Navy for decades to come.

Training a world-class workforce requires world-class facilities. That’s why, as well as our new Ship Build Hall, we are building our new Applied Shipbuilding Academy here in Glasgow, working closely with our regional partners to build sector skills.

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