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Construction has begun on a new Applied Shipbuilding Academy at BAE Systems’ Scotstoun shipyard on the banks of the River Clyde in Glasgow, the company announced on 9 January 2024.

The academy will comprise a Modern Trade Hall and a Flexible Learning Hub. Its purpose is to support the development of the entire shipbuilding workforce, from apprentices to senior leaders, and forms part of the company’s ongoing commitment to developing future talent.

The academy “will accelerate the modernisation of Glasgow’s historic shipbuilding industry, upskilling the existing workforce whilst attracting new talent to secure its future for generations to come”, BAE Systems stated in a press release.

A historic industrial building at the location will be retrofitted to become the Modern Trade Hall, with areas dedicated to each shipbuilding trade, ship-realistic mock-up environments and research and technology facilities. Immediately adjacent will be a Flexible Learning Hub containing more than 30 classrooms, a STEM innovation lab and office facilities.

On completion in the second half of 2024, the Applied Shipbuilding Academy will provide bespoke training for almost 4,500 employees, including nearly 700 apprentices.

The new facilities “will also enable a substantial expansion of the successful early careers programmes at BAE Systems, doubling the intake in Glasgow to more than 200 new apprentices each year”, BAE stated.

A CGI of BAE Systems’ new Applied Shipbuilding Academy, located at the company’s Scotstoun shipyard on the banks of the River Clyde in Glasgow. (Image: BAE Systems)

Paul Feely, Academy and Engineering Director for BAE Systems’ Naval Ships business, was quoted by the company as saying, “This new training facility is an exciting demonstration of our commitment to shipbuilding on the Clyde, allowing us to further support thousands of highly skilled jobs in Scotland.

“Our investment in Glasgow will help us to deliver the national endeavour that is the Type 26 [frigate] programme and ensure that we can provide navies around the world with a competitive edge in the decades to come.”

Rex Cox, CEO of the National Shipbuilding Office, added, “Our work with the UK Shipbuilding Skills Task Force identified the urgent need to invest in shipbuilding skills. At the National Shipbuilding Office we are heartened to see such tangible action being taken in response to our collective call for upskilling the industry and we look forward to the positive impact this academy will have on our national shipbuilding capabilities.”

Meanwhile, construction of a modern shipbuilding hall at BAE’s Govan site is also underway and, together with a range of additional investments in technologies and equipment, forms part of an overall GBP 300 M (EUR 349 M) investment in the two Glasgow sites over the next five years.

“These investments will greatly enhance productivity of the shipyards to support the delivery of the eight Type 26 frigates for the Royal Navy and potential future orders,” the company noted.

BAE Systems has also announced that it is recruiting almost 300 apprentices and graduates to join its Naval Ships business in Glasgow in 2024.