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BAE Systems Invest £300,000 in Digital Skill Programmes

BAE Systems Invest in Digital Skill Programmes

@BAESystemsInc has today (6 Oct) announced a major investment in a range of new digital skills programmes aimed at boosting employability in Lancashire. Up to 7,500 young people in the region will have the chance to take part in the schemes as part of a £300,000 injection for 70 local schools.

Research has shown that only one in six of Lancashire’s current digital workforce are female and a very small proportion of these are in the 16-24 age bracket. BAE Systems’ investment will go towards funding for online education, 3D printers, and practical training, with the aim of highlighting the breadth of digital and tech career opportunities open to female and non-binary students.

Major investment in new digital skills programmes to boost employability in Lancashire

Working in collaboration with Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Create Education and InnovateHer, the new programmes aim to inspire young people about digital and tech careers to help build Lancashire’s future digital workforce, by providing online education, 3D printers and practical training for 70 schools located across the region.

Research undertaken by the LEP shows that there is a demand from employers for digital and tech skills which is projected to increase significantly over the coming years across all sectors. The research also reveals that fewer than one in six of the Lancashire digital workforce is female and that the sector is solely made up of employees aged 25 and over. 

The programmes will seek to inspire young people aged 12 – 16, with InnovateHer focusing on female and non-binary students to highlight the breadth of digital and tech career opportunities available to them. Recognising the gender gap in the UK’s technology industry, InnovateHer is committed to addressing the disproportionate number of female and non-binary students who go on to choose a career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

CREATE Education will bring cutting edge technologies into an educational setting, providing the resources and training to empower 100 teachers to deliver classes in 3D printing – a new skillset for many students. The first 3D printer was handed over to Patricia Berry, Careers Leader at Parklands High School at a launch event at CREATE Education’s facility in Chorley.

Jenny Manning, Additive Manufacturing Lead in BAE Systems’ Air Sector, said:

“The long-term impact of the pandemic on young people is far reaching and as a large employer in Lancashire, we have a role to play in inspiring future generations about the multiple pathways into technology and engineering professions, particularly as these skills become increasingly important as we work towards a greener and more sustainable economy. This funding is part of the Company’s long-term commitment to deliver high value training, support and careers that are accessible to young people from diverse backgrounds in the region.”

Debbie Francis, Chair, Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, said:

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with BAE Systems, CREATE Education and InnovateHer to work together through the Lancashire Careers Hub with schools to inspire young people about the plethora of digital and tech careers currently in demand and forecast to grow in Lancashire. Together, we are committed to building our future digital and tech workforce which will accelerate industrial digitalisation and support the drive towards a net zero economy across the area.”

Paul Croft, Founder and Director at CREATE Education, said:

“We are incredibly excited to be a part of this innovative programme, working in partnership to put young people at the forefront and provide schools with the resources and training they need to help inspire and motivate the next generation. Our mission is to share innovation through 3D printing with everyone and this programme will bring new technologies, open-source thinking and collaboration to make innovation and digital creativity accessible to the young people across Lancashire and help promote positive exit routes and careers within the industry.”

Chelsea Slater, CEO, InnovateHer, said:

“We are delighted to be expanding the reach of our programmes to Lancashire, with support from BAE Systems. It means that thousands of local girls will be inspired and equipped with the skills and confidence that they need to consider careers in tech.

“With just 17% of the tech workforce being female in the UK*, we know that it’s really important to work with young people to address this imbalance. We hope it will help local employers recruit more diverse talent in the future and provide opportunities for young people who may not have realised that they too can have a career in tech.”

Building stronger collaboration between private and public sectors will strengthen Lancashire’s local digital capital, supporting the region to recover from the impact of COVID-19 and build a future talent pipeline as recommended in the techUK research ‘Building the Future We Need’, which states if current rates of growth for digital workers continue over the next 25 years, 1.23 million workers will need to be supplied by 2050.

More than 70 high schools have been approached via the Lancashire Careers Hub to participate in the projects, including schools in Blackpool, Blackburn, Darwen and Preston.

The launch of the projects coincides with Lancashire Innovation Week, which acts as a virtual showcase of some of Lancashire’s latest innovations in a series of web-based events.

  • The projects will target up to 7,500 students aged 12 – 16 in Lancashire during the next 12 months, providing access to online training resources and hands on education through the provision of 3D printers and training.
  • BAE Systems is committed to the development of new skills and the next generation, recruiting its higher ever intake of apprentices and graduates across its UK sites in 2021 (circa 800 apprentices and 350 graduates).
  • The £300k investment in Create Education and InnovateHer (split equally) is funded by unclaimed asset money. The share forfeiture was completed during 2020, with £3.6m being made available to fund community support projects – this is in addition to BAE Systems’ regular funding for community initiatives.
  • The Lancashire Careers Hub is led by the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, working with the Careers and Enterprise Company and the Local Authorities with delivery partner, Inspira. It supports 156 schools and colleges across Lancashire to provide inspirational careers programmes in partnership with business. BAE Systems is a key partner, as a major employer in Lancashire.

The Lancashire Enterprise Partnership is a strategic collaboration between business, universities and local councils which directs economic growth and drives job creation. The LEP was formed in 2011 to make Lancashire the location for business growth and inward investment, its role is to ensure the best possible economic conditions so that businesses can start, grow and thrive, by enjoying easy access to high-grade support for sustainable expansion

The LEP works with government to bid for public funds, focussing on opportunities that maximise job creation and growth to spread the benefits right across the county.

*Taking Stock: Data and Evidence on Gender Inequality in Digital Access, Skills, and Leadership by Equals Global Partnership

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