From education to employment


BAE Systems has opened a new careers hub in Barrow-in-Furness as the first part of a multi-million pound set of investments across the town.

Earlier this year, the Company purchased several retail properties in the town, including the former Debenhams, WHSmith and Bodyshop units. These vacant sites are being transformed into vibrant new spaces to provide the local community with education, outreach and recruitment services. It is hoped this investment will increase footfall in town centre, helping to boost the local economy.

The Careers Inspiration Hub is the first site to open at the Portland Walk Campus, offering employment advice from BAE Systems and a range of Barrow and Furness employers and organisations.

Janet Garner, Future Workforce Director, BAE Systems’ Submarines business, said:

“We’re proud to launch our new Careers Inspiration Hub in the heart of Barrow to provide businesses and organisations a chance to showcase their employment opportunities.

“We’re determined to play our part in the regeneration of this brilliant town. Our Portland Walk Campus is the embodiment of that work and we’re already seeing more shops and local businesses return to the town centre.”

Sam Plum, Chief Executive, Westmorland and Furness Council, said:

“As a local authority Chief Executive, when Debenhams said they were closing I thought ‘what are we going to do to save the High Street?’.

“We have a fantastic opportunity with ‘Levelling Up’ funding and this felt like a fantastic opportunity. It really starts to give us the confidence that things are changing in Barrow. It’s so positive that we are able to raise aspirations in this way.”

Ulverston-based Oxley Developments is one of the Cumbrian organisations who will use the Portland Walk space to promote their opportunities.

Jayne Moorby, Oxley Developments’ Head of Marketing, said:

“We were delighted to be invited by BAE Systems to get involved in this modern, collaborative and technology led facility.  As it’s based on the high street, it is perfectly placed to increase the visibility of all the opportunities available in the Furness area.”

The next stage of the Portland Walk Campus will transform the former WHSmith and Sweet Emporium sites into a bigger multi-use engagement hub. This will provide educational outreach, supplier engagement and business support for social enterprise activities.

The final investment will see the former Debenhams’ building transformed into a large new learning centre, with mock-ups to provide physical practice areas, bridging the gap between BAE Systems’ Submarines Academy for Skills and Knowledge and the shipyard.  

Work on the Portland Walk Campus is taking place in tandem with the creation of a £10.4m Barrow Learning Quarter, which will consist of a new university campus and the establishment of a number of Community Resilience Hubs. These two projects will bring significant benefits to Barrow and will benefit from £1 million in support from BAE Systems over the next three years.

BAE Systems has announced that it is recruiting almost 1,000 apprentices and graduates to join the Barrow shipyard in 2024. The closing date for apprentice applications is 28 February 2024. There are multiple graduate intakes throughout the year, including January, April, July and September. Find out more and apply here.

Additionally there are thousands of roles available across the UK for experienced professionals. Find out more and apply here.

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