UK Shipbuilding Skills Taskforce membership confirmed

Members of the UK’s first Shipbuilding Skills Taskforce (UKSST) have been announced today (24 May).

The Taskforce will be Chaired by Captain Dr Paul Little, Principal & Chief Executive of City of Glasgow College. An academic leader with a successful part-time Maritime career that included deployment with the US Coastguard, Paul successfully transformed five UK tertiary institutions, and has a strong international reputation. Paul brings dynamic leadership to the Taskforce and over 40 years naval insight as a veteran Coastguard Officer, Younger Brother of Trinity House, Fellow of the Nautical Institute, Member of the UK’s Merchant Navy Board and Member of both the Merchant Navy and the Royal Navy Associations. He is also a proud Honorary Royal Navy Captain.

He will be joined by 20 members from across the UK, providing coverage from industry including SMEs and larger organisations, training providers and trade representative bodies.

The Taskforce was announced in March 2022, as part of the cross-government National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSbS), to develop a world-leading skills strategy that will boosts training and job opportunities in the shipbuilding industry particularly those related to new and emerging technologies and zero-emissions shipping.

Minister for Skills Alex Burghart said:

Making sure we can deliver more opportunities for people to train or upskill will be essential to providing the UK shipbuilding industry with the talent pipeline it needs to thrive and get more people into jobs.

I’m delighted announce the appointment of Captain Dr Paul Little as the Chair of the UK Shipbuilding Skills Taskforce. I know he and all the other members will bring the experience, passion and understanding needed to make this Taskforce a success. I look forward to hearing about their work as the strategy develops.

Captain Dr Paul Little said:

I am honoured and delighted to be appointed as Chair of the UK Shipbuilding Skills Taskforce, as it will allow me to combine my lifelong passions for Skills and Maritime. Some of the very best and most famous ships throughout history were built in yards across the UK, by a talented workforce of naval architects, master technicians and skilled apprentices. I am therefore keen to get started with the first meeting of our highly experienced Taskforce to examine the existing and future shipbuilding skills supply chain and to identify any additional upskilling and reskilling requirements. I look forward to working very closely with the National Shipbuilding Office, Civil & Military stakeholders, Colleges and Schools to deliver a renaissance in UK Shipbuilding.

The 20 members of the Taskforce are:

  • Linton Roberts, Chief Technology Officer, Cammell Laird Ship repairers and Shipbuilders Ltd and A&P Group Ltd.
  • Adrian Bevin, Head of Curriculum, Technology, South Devon College
  • Commodore Andrew Martin Cree, Deputy Director Future Training, Royal Navy
  • Edward James Corbett, Project Engineer, representing Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU)
  • Elizabeth O’Connor, Human Resources and Legal Director, MJM Marine Ltd
  • Hannah Prowse, CEO, Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust
  • Keith Longman, Yard Manager, Berthon Boat Company Ltd.
  • Kerrie Forster, CEO, Workboat Association
  • Mark Whitehead, Snr Client and Commercial Manager, Bibby Marine
  • Matt Bolton, Executive Officer, UKNEST
  • Matthew Guy, Human Resources Director, Thales UK
  • Nick Mansell, Chief Executive Officer, Intermarine UK
  • Patrick Carnie, Strategy Director, Marine and Engineering Systems, Babcock International Group
  • Paul Feely, Academy and Engineering Director, BAE Systems Naval
  • Paul Turner, HR Director, Princess Yachts Ltd
  • Rachel Kitley, Principal, Cowes Enterprise College, Ormiston Academies Trust (OAT)
  • Richard Westgarth, Industry Engagement, BMT MarRI-UK, as well as Adjunct Professor at the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute.
  • Sarah Dhanda, Head of Policy and Partnerships, Enginuity
  • Tahsin Tezdogan, University Reader in Naval Architecture, University of Strathclyde

The first meeting of the Taskforce is expected to take place in June, and members will soon begin working with the wider industry to explore skills needs and shortages.

Rear Admiral, Rex Cox, Chief Executive of the National Shipbuilding Office, said:

I am delighted that Paul Little has been appointed as Chair of the new UK Shipbuilding Skills Taskforce. As Principal and Chief Executive of the City of Glasgow College and with a rich maritime background, Paul is the ideal fit for the role. I am confident that Paul’s appointment together with Taskforce membership drawn from right across the UK, and reflecting the true breadth of our Shipbuilding Enterprise, will bring real focus to skills and training.

The Taskforce will be critical in over-seeing our efforts to ensure that our industry is able to access workers with the right training and skills which is fundamental to our ambition to drive growth and transformation to achieve a globally successful, innovative and sustainable Shipbuilding Enterprise for the UK.

The mailing list remains open for anybody who would like to receive email updates or be part of our consultation group to help to shape the work of the Taskforce.

Notes:

  • The National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSbS) refresh builds on the commitments of the previous strategy and reaffirms the need for the shipbuilding industry to work together to understand and articulate their future skills needs.
  • UK Shipbuilding Skills Taskforce (UKSST) will form a partnership between government, industry, training providers and trade representative bodies.
  • The Taskforce will support the development and implementation of a future-focused skills strategy for shipbuilding. Working closely with the Ministry of Defence (MoD), the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Department for Transport (DfT), it will build a picture of the industry’s skills needs and provide solutions to skills shortages, particularly those related to new and emerging technologies.  By catalysing and leveraging the skills system, the Taskforce will:

    • ensure providers are empowered to meet the industry’s requirements
    • work with industry colleagues to promote varied and exciting career opportunities in the shipbuilding sector
    • draw on the best practice internationally and from other sectors
    • optimise the available skills funding and opportunities for shipbuilding

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