The Academy for Skills and Knowledge, at BAE Systems’ Submarines site in Barrow-in-Furness,Cumbria, was officially opened today by the Secretary of State for Defence,Gavin Williamson.

“To support this, we continue to workclosely with local schools and colleges and we see the academy as anotherpositive step towards helping to raise standards of education in thearea.”

The academy is part of a substantial siteinvestment programme that will provide a range of new and upgraded facilitiesto the workforce – from experienced naval architects and systems engineers tonew apprentices and graduates – working to deliver the Astute and Dreadnoughtclass submarines for the Royal Navy. 

The academy will deliver a range of training,from mechanical and electrical skills in its 10 workshops to design and projectmanagement in its 30 classrooms. Resources such as the virtual reality trainingsuite will allow employees to hone their skills in a simulated environment,before working on the real product. 

It also forms part of the Company’s ongoingcommitment to developing future talent, with more than 280 employees beingrecruited to join Submarines on early careers programmes in 2019. This followsmore than 250 employees that joined as apprentices, higher apprentices orgraduates earlier this year, as the business continues to support the ramp-upof production on the Dreadnought programme.

BAE Systems’ Submarines business is a majorcontributor to the regional and national UK economy. Last year it spentapproximately £700m with more than 700 suppliers and in 2016 supported one in20 jobs in the regional economy.

During a visit to Barrow in May this year, theDefence Secretary also opened a new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility,the Central Yard Complex, where certain phases of construction for theDreadnought class will take place – marking the latest development in a majorinfrastructure investment programme. 

The Submarines academy is the second of its typeto be opened by BAE Systems in North West England and joins a network ofsimilar facilities in place to train and develop the 34,000 BAE Systemsemployees across the UK. The first Academy for Skills and Knowledge was openedin Samlesbury, Lancashire, to support BAE Systems’ Air business, and last yearcelebrated delivering more than 250,000 training hours in its first year.

The Defence Secretaryalso used his visit to announce the award of a further £400m to BAE Systems forongoing work on the Dreadnought programme, as well as reveal the name of thesecond boat in the class, which will be HMS Valiant.       

Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State forDefence, said: “The Dreadnought programme is truly a national endeavour,employing some of the brightest engineers and scientists in this country.

“This new Academy for Skills and Knowledge is avital part of this programme as, alongside our industry partners, we strive toupskill and maintain the talented workforce building these state-of-the-artsubmarines.”

Cliff Robson, Managing Director of BAE SystemsSubmarines, said: “This is a fantastic facility that will provide a uniqueenvironment in which to train our growing workforce. Our investment in skillswill not only ensure we have a pipeline of world-class talent available todeliver our complex programmes, but will also positively contribute to theeconomic prosperity of the region and the UK’s engineeringindustry.  

“The new academy will give our current andfuture workforce access to the very latest in learning and development,demonstrating our lasting commitment not just to our current employees but tothose who will join our company in years to come.

Cliff Robson, Managing Director of BAE SystemsSubmarines