At BAE Systems we help defend the nation by protecting and serving those who protect and serve us. We do this by being performance-driven and values-led. Our focus on performance means that as a successful business, we are able to make a significant contribution to the economies and societies in which we operate.
An independent report by Oxford Economics showed that we made a contribution to the UK’s GDP of more than £10 billion in 2020. We delivered almost £4 billion in exports and employed 143,000 people in the UK directly and indirectly through a network of 5,000 suppliers with whom we spent £3.8 billion in 2020. This included nearly £700 million with suppliers in the country’s most deprived local authorities.
With 72 per cent of our UK workforce in highly skilled engineering-related roles, we are closely aligned with the government’s focus on skills. And to ensure we maintain and increase our pipeline of talent, we invest in the region of £100 million a year in education programmes and in training our people – including 3,300 apprentices and graduates at sites across the UK. We also work with The Prince’s Trust in helping to address youth unemployment through the Movement to Work and Kickstart programmes.
Our ability to support the government’s levelling-up agenda and the Chancellor’s Plan for Jobs is further evidenced by our regional footprint – with 16,570 full-time employees in the north-west of England alone. At Warton and Samlesbury in Lancashire, we build some of the world’s most advanced military aircraft. At Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria we build nuclear-powered submarines – and employ nearly a third of the town’s working population.
In Scotland we support a total of 6,420 jobs in shipbuilding including our work building the Type 26 Frigate, a 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 also carry out upgrade and maintenance to warships, including the two Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers.
At the same time, we are committed to supporting the government’s net-zero programme, working closely with the Ministry of Defence in developing sustainable defence technologies, as well as setting a target of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across our operations by 2030.
Working with UK universities we manage important research and development partnerships that focus on strategically important technology areas for our business, including artificial intelligence, autonomy and advanced manufacturing.
BAE Systems’ investment in its people and new technologies pays huge dividends to the economy and society, with average productivity calculated at £83,000 per worker – 29 per cent higher than the average across the economy in 2020. The leaders in our UK businesses take pride in sharing their skills, with more than 190 of them mentoring 200 different small- and medium-sized businesses throughout the UK. The productivity boost of these mentoring relationships between March 2020 and March 2021 alone is estimated by Be the Business – an independent, not-for-profit business-support organisation – to be £12.2 million.
Serving the UK’s communities
Barrow-in-Furness is a town in Cumbria, north-west England and home to our submarines shipyard. It is a small, densely populated and relatively deprived area with some of Cumbria’s poorest health outcomes. Almost a third of Barrow’s working-age population is employed at our shipyard.
Our business relies on employing local people with the right skills and behaviours. We also need a supply chain that is efficient, effective, responsive and flexible. To achieve this, the right social, economic and environmental conditions must be in place. The health and prosperity of the local area are strategic imperatives and crucial to our business success.
To support the development of these conditions, we are collaborating with partners and creating a strategic and proactive approach to help overcome local challenges.
- Through the Movement to Work programme, we have offered more than 170 placements to young unemployed people in Barrow. Approximately two-thirds of them have since transitioned on to apprenticeship programmes.
- We work with local partners to deliver a wide range of activities across different stages of education. This has included supporting the Furness Education Trust since its inception in 2009, with £400,000 in funding as well as ongoing in-kind support. This has contributed to the Trust moving from Ofsted ‘Special Measures’ to ‘Good’ and to increasing student
entry numbers by 184 per cent over the same period.
- As a stakeholder in the ‘Town Deal’ partnership, we have worked with local partners on a town investment plan. This resulted in a successful application for £25 million of funding to improve the area. The plan includes the creation of a £10.4 million Barrow Learning Quarter, comprising a new university campus and a number of community resilience hubs.
- We have supported the local Barrow Dock Museum project which helped attract £900,000 of further investment. We funded a counselling service with the Cumbria Alcohol and Drugs Advisory Service to provide support to people with addiction problems.