UK Secretary for Defence Sir Michael Fallon visited A&P Group’s Hebburn facility today (Monday October 30th).
Following the unveiling of the Government’s ambitious new National Shipbuilding Strategy last month, Sir Michael Fallon’s visit gave A&P Group an opportunity to reaffirm its ship building capabilities and showcase its world class engineering facilities and workforce.
David McGinley, Group Managing Director of A&P Group said: “Sir Michael Fallon’s visit, much like the National Ship Building Strategy (NSBS), is about recognising the capability, scale and engineering strength of UK commercial shipyards and the value we can deliver to the Ministry of Defence both here in Hebburn and across the country.
“As the UK’s largest provider of ship repair, conversion and marine services, we operate world class engineering facilities and have the highly skilled workforce needed to support the build of new frigates and the current requirement associated with Type 45 destroyers, here on the Tyne and across the group. Our experience sharing large scale defence sector work with other UK yards includes the Astute Submarine Class and the prestigious HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales aircraft carrier projects, all of which epitomise the underlying tenets of the NSBS.
“A&P Group has a strong track record of defence sector projects, having delivered audited savings of £24million to the Ministry of Defence during a ten-year partnership with Commercially Supported Shipping for the support of Royal Fleet Auxiliary Ships at home and abroad. Additionally, we are contracted to customise and fit out all four of the RFA’s new Tide class tankers and co-ordinate full military Capability Assessment Trials. Our ability to generate savings is due to our low-cost base and our work across both the Ministry of Defence and commercial sectors.
“We fully support the Government’s commitment to boost UK ship building and importantly, allow innovation, skills and training to flourish and we are keen to capitalise on all available opportunities for additional work in the future. This of course means we will engage and collaborate with other sector players in support of the National Shipbuilding Strategy.”
A&P Group’s Group Managing Director David McGinley and the Managing Director of A&P North East Darren Brown, gave Sir Michael a guided tour of the Hebburn-based yard which employs 300 workers including 11 new apprentices and boasts the largest dry dock on the north-east coast of England.
During the visit Sir Michael Fallon spoke to a number of A&P Group’s apprentices about their training and the opportunities that supporting the build of Type 31e general purpose frigates on the Tyne could afford their careers.
Sir Michael Fallon, UK Secretary for Defence said: “It is very encouraging to witness the renaissance of shipbuilding around the UK first hand. Having helped build our new aircraft carriers and the Astute Class submarines, A&P Tyne have the skills and expertise to bid for our brand new class of frigates.
“The whole industry is clearly excited about the opportunity to build cutting-edge ships for our growing Royal Navy, which will protect our nation and interests across the world.”
Darren Brown, Managing Director of A&P North East said: “This region is known for its engineering history and rich pool of ship-building talent and with the support of the National Ship Building Strategy, we can continue investing in the future of the industry. New opportunities such as working on the frigates here on the Tyne will allow us to nurture the highly-skilled workforce that keeps us at the forefront of marine engineering.”
Currently working on the build of the seventh Astute submarine and the first of ten units for the Future Submarine programme as well as a number of commercial ship projects, A&P’s Tyne yard has enjoyed a strong year to date. Other high-profile projects during 2017 include building the stern of the new polar research ship, the RRS Sir David Attenborough, which is a major UK Government investment in frontier science.