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Dedicated Skills Development Centre launched at Portsmouth Naval Base

BAE Systems apprentices at work in the Skills Development Centre
The Skills Development Centre has been officially reopened at Portsmouth Naval Base following a £2.4 million investment to extend and modernise the facility. Work started on the site at the beginning of last year and the re-opening was marked by the Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral Jonathan Woodcock OBE, Royal Navy.
The upgraded facility will provide on-site training to existing employees at Portsmouth Naval Base as well as apprentices, reaffirming BAE Systems’ commitment to nurturing talent and high-end skills. 
 
More than 4,000 employees will be trained at the Skills Development Centre over the next five years to maintain and develop their skills to support the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers, which are due to arrive in Portsmouth in 2017.Revamped and refreshed, the centre features modern classroom facilities and workstations that replicate elements of a warship, allowing employees to train in a safe and realistic environment.
 
While the majority of the upgrade work was undertaken by local contractors, BAE Systems apprentices used the opportunity to refine their welding, electrical, fabrication and mechanical skills to contribute to the new workshop areas.  
 
As well as BAE Systems employees, the centre will also be available for Royal Navy personnel. 

Naval Base Commander (Portsmouth), Commodore Jeremy Rigby, speaks to BAE Systems apprentices during a tour of the reopened Skills Development Centre
 
The centre also has a specific area dedicated for work experience, with more than 70 placements to be accommodated providing students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with engineering and technical problem solving.
 
Mike Howarth, Managing Director at BAE Systems in Portsmouth, said: “As warships become more sophisticated the range of skills required across the fleet will evolve. Our investment in the Skills Development Centre will provide the Naval Base with an advanced training facility with the latest tools and technology. This will enhance the specialist skills of our core staff and future apprentices and the Royal Navy.”
 
There will be additional opportunities to inspire local young people into STEM careers in 2017 with the opening of a University Technical College (UTC) in Portsmouth. BAE Systems is a founding partner of the UTC in Portsmouth, which specialises in electrical and mechanical engineering and advanced manufacturing and will offer a variety of employer-linked projects and vocational training alongside traditional academic subjects.