Portsmouth has once again proved it is at the forefront when it come to supporting advances in technology and engineering.
Yesterday saw the reopening of BAE Systems’ skills centre inside Portsmouth Naval Base.
The site will be the home of almost 200 apprentices who will become the engineers of the future.
These young people – many of whom have grown up or live in the city – will play a key role in maintaining the nation’s warships and naval facilities for decades to come.
Some will even work on the two largest warships ever built by the Royal Navy, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales – both of which will be based in Portsmouth.
BAE’s £2.4m investment in revamping the site comes at a crucial time.
As the Royal Navy’s Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral Jonathan Woodcock told The News yesterday, the nation is facing a significant technical skills shortfall, one that the government is determined to fix.
This is an issue which is not just affecting industry but the Royal Navy, too.
It’s nothing new that the Senior Service is desperately short of engineers for the fleet.
So, this latest addition to Portsmouth can only be good news.
Not only are these apprentices picking up a key trade – they’re also earning while they learn.
The latest crop of trainees are being taught on some of the best equipment available, learning skills like welding, electronics and mechanics.
As well as this, the facility will also help pass on skills to a number of apprentices from smaller businesses across the city.
So it’s fantastic to see such a site reopening its doors and providing a key stepping stone to improving the engineering shortfall faced in the nation.