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Defence Manufacturing: Employment

Volume 745: debated on Monday 19 February 2024

11. What assessment he has made of trends in levels of employment in the defence manufacturing sector in the next 12 months. (901525)

In 2022-23, the Ministry of Defence spent £25 billion with UK industry. The most recent estimate shows that that supported 209,000 jobs across the country, of which 47,000 were in manufacturing.

My Tewkesbury constituency contains a lot of aerospace manufacturing, particularly for the defence sectors, but those companies have long complained to me that they cannot attract enough young people, particularly to take engineering jobs. The all-party parliamentary group on aerospace, which I co-chair, has the objective of enticing young people to go into engineering or at least consider it as a career. Will the Government do anything more to persuade young people to consider taking up the engineering opportunities that are there?

My hon. Friend asks an excellent question. It helps that we have lots of school groups and young people in the Gallery today, it being half term. I can confirm that last year’s defence Command Paper identified skills as a priority, including the shortage of engineering, digital, cyber, STEM, nuclear, and space-based skills. The defence head of profession for engineering, who also supports the Government science and engineering head of profession, has a defence youth engagement strategy that drives STEM outreach activities and the encouragement of engineering uptake in individuals aged four to 14.