The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 6 December that the DREADNOUGHT nuclear submarine programme is receiving a £400 million (€445 million) funding boost, as the Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson, opened a new training academy and revealed the name of the second DREADNOUGHT-class boat.

The Submarine Academy for Skills and Knowledge will provide around 2,500 people a month - including 600 apprentices from across industry and the MoD - with invaluable skills and training to benefit the work carried out on the DREADNOUGHT and ASTUTE submarine programmes over the next two decades. “The Academy for Skills and Knowledge is essential in developing the vast range of talent in Barrow and ensures that the workforce is equipped with the best possible tools needed to meet the ever-growing demands placed on the UK’s submarine construction industry,” commented Submarine Delivery Agency Chief Executive, Ian Booth.

The £400million investment will safeguard more than 8,000 jobs in Barrow and across the UK, which are all supported by the £31billion DREADNOUGHT programme and supply chain.

The announcement was made during Mr Williamson’s visit to BAE Systems’ site in Barrow-in-Furness, where he also named the second DREADNOUGHT submarine as HMS VALIANT.

Next year marks half-a-century since British nuclear-armed submarines began patrolling the waters in response to the danger posed by the Cold War - and the world is again facing a raft of intensifying threats. This £400m investment will ensure the DREADNOUGHT programme remains on track, so we continue to have a nuclear deterrent at sea for decades to come. Not only does today’s news see us safeguard 8,000 jobs right now, but I have also opened a brand new multi-million-pound facility to train Britain’s submarine engineers of the future,” he told the audience in Barrow.

The latest investment comes after £960 million worth of contracts were announced in May to ramp up the current phase of construction for the UK’s four nuclear-armed DREADNOUGHT submarines.

This is a fantastic facility that will provide a unique environment in which to train our growing workforce. Our investment in skills will not only ensure we have a pipeline of world-class talent available to deliver our complex programmes, but will also positively contribute to the economic prosperity of the region and the UK’s engineering industry [….] The new academy will give our current and future workforce access to the very latest in learning and development, demonstrating our lasting commitment not just to our current employees but to those who will join our company in years to come,” added BAE Systems Submarines Managing Director, Cliff Robson.

An artist’s impression of HMS DREADNOUGHT. (Image: BAE Systems)

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