Defence investment 'secures employment underpinned by the higher skills and research agenda’
The Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has said new defence contracts announced for Barrow will support 8,000 shipyard jobs in BAE and thousands more in the supply chain.
Mr Williamson said deals had been signed worth £2.5bn for the last of the Astute submarines and for more work on the Dreadnought programme - four submarines that will carry Britain's nuclear deterrent.
He also formally opened the new £100m central yard facility building, which will be used in the Dreadnought programme.
Professor Andrew Gale, the University of Cumbria's director of industrial strategy, commented:
“There is little doubt that Cumbria plays a key role in the UK’s defence industry, through the work of BAE in Barrow and their significant supply chain stretching across the North West. The sector comprises cutting-edge engineering, technology, science and project management; employing higher-level skills. The defence announcement, of a £2.5bn investment in the UK's nuclear submarine programme will help to secure skilled employment at a time when, according to the UK Trade Policy Observatory, BREXIT threatens jobs in the region.
The investment will stimulate demand for higher level skills in Cumbria, which can be enhanced through education and training (foundation degrees, degree apprenticeships undergraduate and higher degrees, as well as continuing professional development) provided by Cumbria’s anchor education institutions, the University of Cumbria and further education college partners. This welcome news is confirmation that Barrow will continue to play a leading role in this industry sector. The University of Cumbria will certainly rise to the challenge, working with industry to design, develop, deliver and maintain the higher-level skills required.
All this coincides with the launch of the UK Research and Innovation’s Strategic Plan, which focuses on the need for industry to work with universities on inter and multi-disciplinary research and development, through international collaboration. This will support the UK’s place-based Industrial Strategy and the regional economic development agenda.”