One of the UK's most famous shipbuilders says it's ready to help 'level up' the North West, as it continues investing in its apprenticeship programme and delivering social benefits to the wider Wirral community to help secure the future of shipbuilding in the region.
Merseyside-based shipbuilding giant Cammell Laird says it's in the perfect position to support a renaissance in Britain's maritime sector, as outlined in the updated National Shipbuilding Strategy.
Cammell Laird CEO David McGinley said: "As the UK’s premier commercial shipbuilder, Cammell Laird is absolutely ready to deliver future programmes.
“We are pleased to see the formation of the National Shipbuilding Office, and look forward to building a strong relationship with Rear Admiral Cox and his team, such that they understand the value that UK shipbuilders can provide into developing the National Shipbuilding Strategy Refresh (NSBSR) programme, which in turn will unlock wide-ranging social benefits, employment and apprenticeships for the people of Merseyside.
“Shipbuilding will also play a critical role in supporting the Government’s levelling-up agenda by delivering significant infrastructure programmes in the North West and other regions of the UK.”
Cammell Laird has completed some of the most ambitious shipbuilding projects in modern times, through the recent construction of the RRS Sir David Attenborough, the Aircraft Carrier Alliance and delivering the Astute and Dreadnought submarines on behalf of BAE.
The company is now setting its sights on the £200m 'national flagship', a state-of-the-art yacht to boost British trade and drive investment in the UK's economy, as well as the contract to deliver a surveillance vessel to protect telecommunications cables. Two programmes the company says it is ready to deliver on right away.
Speaking about the national flagship, David McGinley said: “It would be a huge honour to be trusted with such a prestigious project and we are eminently qualified for the task.
"We've clearly demonstrated over many years that Cammell Laird knows what it takes to deliver vessels of vital national importance.
“The cable laying ship in particular also has many synergies with the RRS Sir David Attenborough, which will help Cammell Laird de-risk the programme.
David went on to say: “This wealth of experience makes us one of only a handful of UK shipyards who can partner with Government to deliver these vessels. What sets Cammell Laird apart is our ability to deliver at speed, which will achieve maximum value for money for British taxpayers.”
Cammell Laird's success is made possible by a highly skilled workforce and a strong apprenticeship programme, introducing young talents to the industry.
Indeed, it has enlisted 46 apprentices in the last year alone and remains committed to growing its apprenticeship programme in spite of the challenges posed by the pandemic.
David said: "Cammell Laird has both a rich history and an exciting future, and our apprentices play an essential role in helping to protect our heritage and forge our ongoing success.
"We're determined to provide career opportunities to people from the local area during this challenging time and our apprenticeship programme allows us to do this.
"We're proud to provide world-leading maritime experience on projects you wouldn’t find anywhere else, along with our commitment to helping plug the engineering skills gap in the North West and supporting the local economy through job creation."
The sheer breadth of unique, high-profile projects means Cammell Laird apprentices work on a wide variety of ships and vessels gaining invaluable maritime experience.
Trainee ship manager John O'Brien, who started at the firm as an apprentice in 2007, said: "It's really quite unbelievable the opportunities I've had over the years to work on prestigious projects.
"One of my personal highlights was working on the Red Kestrel ferry and watching it grow into a fully finished ferry. In fact, we went down to Southampton and I was asked to press the button to start the engines.
"It just goes to show that, whatever your background, anyone can be me and anyone can get to where I am now."
Apprentice Callum added: "The most exciting project I've been on is the RRS Sir David Attenborough - one of the most advanced polar research vessels in the world. I started my apprenticeship from the keel laying all the way to when it went out into the Mersey."
The Cammell Laird apprenticeship programme is one of the biggest in the UK maritime industry, representing an investment of over £19m to date.
The firm knows this is money well spent when it comes to nurturing eager, motivated, flexible and loyal employees with a broad skillset designed around the needs of the industry.
Director of production Michael Hill, who started as an apprentice back in 1996, said: "The scheme is absolutely vital to the business in terms of its continued success and enabling us to pitch for these high-profile Government projects.
"Over the last 12 years, Cammell Laird has recruited almost 300 apprentices across a broad range of roles.
"The social value of that is just massive. We've got somewhere in the order of 1,500 people working at our 130-acre Birkenhead site, and they are all contributing to the local area in terms of retail and leisure.
"In short, Cammell Laird’s success, now and into the future, helps underpin job and wealth creation on Merseyside."