A step change in UK shipbuilding skills

Babcock welcomes the launch of the UK Shipbuilding Skills Taskforce report, ‘A Step Change in UK Shipbuilding Skills’, which makes a series of recommendations to address skills challenges across the shipbuilding sector.

The report was launched at London International Shipping Week and sets out a plan to help ensure the UK shipbuilding sector has access to the skills it needs in both the immediate and long term.

The Taskforce has spent the last year exploring shipbuilding skills challenges and developing a set of recommendations for industry, educators and government that seek to address these.

Our organisation has had representation on the Taskforce and played a key role in developing its recommendations.

John Howie Babcock’s Chief Corporate Affairs Officer and Shipbuilding Enterprise for Growth, Industry Co-Chair said: “We play a critical role in international defence; delivering the capability our customers need, and making it available wherever, whenever and however they need it. So having the right people available and equipped to deliver this and to grow their careers within the shipbuilding industry is hugely important to us.

“We are also passionate about engaging with the next generation of shipbuilders through our STEM engagement programmes throughout the UK and Internationally and are committed to continuing our work in this area.”

In a speech to maritime and education leaders, the Taskforce Chair Dr Paul Little, Principal of City of Glasgow College, outlined the Taskforce’s key recommendations, which include:

  • To establish a new, sector-wide narrative for shipbuilding to promote it as a vibrant and inclusive sector
  • To help the sector engage more productively with the existing skills system, to leverage and maximise its use (supported by the toolkit)
  • To forecast the impact of technological change in the sector on skills
  • To set up an industry-led skills delivery group to oversee and drive delivery of the recommendations, and to be a voice for skills needs in the sector.

The report makes a number of recommendations to governments across the UK. Government has committed to consider these and publish a formal response.

The Taskforce’s work continues until December 2023. It will spend the rest of the year engaging with industry, educators and government on its recommendations, aiming to secure buy-in and initiate recommended activity.