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Advertorial: in association with BAE Systems

Building communities across the UK

From filling skills gaps to tackling unemployment, our work helps to improve livelihoods.

At BAE Systems, we not only develop technological solutions that help to protect the UK; we also make a significant contribution to the economy and a positive impact on the diverse societies in which we operate.

Independent analysis by Oxford Economics shows that we contributed more than £10bn to the UK’s GDP in 2020. We delivered almost £4bn in exports and employed 143,000 people directly and indirectly through a network of 5,000 suppliers.

Our work is helping to fill skills gaps. With nearly three-quarters of our UK-based workforce in highly skilled engineering roles, we are closely aligned with the government’s focus on science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills. To further develop our talent pipeline, we invested £93m in education and employee training programmes in 2020, including for 2,000 apprentices and 600 graduates.

Tackling youth unemployment is a priority for us, and we work with The Prince’s Trust on addressing it through the Movement to Work and Kickstart programmes. Our UK business leaders also take pride in sharing their expertise – more than 190 of our senior leaders mentor individuals within 200 small and medium-sized businesses across the UK. The productivity boost of these mentoring relationships was estimated to be £12.2m between March 2020 and March 2021.

We recognise the importance of boosting employment outside of London and the south-east, and our dedication to supporting the government’s levelling-up agenda and Plan for Jobs is evidenced by our regional footprint – we have 16,570 full-time employees in the north-west of England alone. We build some of the world’s most advanced military aircraft at Warton and Samlesbury in Lancashire, and we also employ roughly 10,000 people in Barrow-in-Furness, where we build nuclear-powered submarines. In 2020, we collaborated with suppliers to spend nearly £700m across the UK’s most deprived local authorities.

In Scotland, we support nearly 6,500 jobs in shipbuilding, which includes building the Type 26 frigate, an innovative design developed in the UK and now adopted by Australia and Canada. We provide further capabilities to the Royal Navy in the south by managing Portsmouth Naval Base, where we carry out upgrade and maintenance work on warships, including the two Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers.

We are committed to supporting the government’s net-zero goals and are working closely with the Ministry of Defence to develop sustainable defence technology. We have also set a target of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across our operations by 2030.

Overall, BAE Systems’ investment in people and new technology benefits both the economy and society, with average productivity calculated at £83,000 per worker – 29 per cent higher than the overall average across the economy. Our research and development (R&D) partnerships with UK universities also help to keep both our business and the UK on the world stage in terms of technological advancement – we focus on strategically important areas, including artificial intelligence, autonomy and advanced manufacturing.

Find out more about the positive contribution we make to the economy, skills and regional prosperity.

Case study

Barrow-in-Furness is a town in Cumbria, north-west England, and is home to our submarines shipyard. It has high levels of deprivation and some of the region’s poorest health outcomes. As a major local employer, we have a significant role to play in boosting the area’s prosperity; nearly a third of the working-age population is employed at the shipyard.

To help improve quality of life, our work is helping to create the right environmental conditions. This then enables us to equip people with the skills that businesses like ours need.

We’re working with regional partners to create a long-term strategy for Barrow:

  • Through the Movement to Work programme, we have offered more than 170 placements to young unemployed people in Barrow, approximately two-thirds of whom have moved on to apprenticeships.
  • We collaborate to deliver educational activities. This has included supporting the Furness Education Trust with £400,000 of funding, helping to move it from Ofsted “Special Measures” to “Good” and increasing student entry numbers by 184 per cent.
  • As a key stakeholder in the Town Deal partnership, we have worked with local partners to develop a town investment plan, which resulted in £25m of government funding. This involves the creation of a £10.4m Barrow Learning Quarter, including a new university campus.
  • We supported the local Barrow Dock Museum project, helping to attract £900,000 of further investment.
  • We funded a counselling service with the Cumbria Alcohol and Drugs Advisory Service to support those who have drug or alcohol issues.

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