Developing Employment and Skills in UK Defence

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Developing EmploymentA presentation by Michael Davis, Chief Executive, UK Commission for Employment and Skills and Nigel Whitehead, Group Managing Director of Programmes and Support, BAE Systems plc.  

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills has an ambition to secure much greater commitment to invest in skills to drive enterprise, jobs and growth. This will require a radical shift, moving from government leadership to greater employer ownership of training, such as apprenticeships and work experience. The Commission co-invests with businesses that want to design and develop their own training programmes, and seek innovative ways for employers and the government to secure the future skills capacity and capability required for growth.

As the UK's largest manufacturing company and the biggest employer of engineers, BAE Systems recognises the role they have to play if their industry is to be a world leader. Taking more control of skills development is a vital part of their business strategy. BAE Systems' Skills 2020 project aims to ensure the company has the right skills to remain competitive and operate successfully until 2020 and beyond. BAE appreciates that their supply chain and young people across the UK have a huge role to play. Consequently, through the Employer Ownership of Skills Pilot, they will be expanding their apprentice training capacity to meet the skills needs of the supply chain in the North West.

This presentation will focus on the macro picture and the importance of skills to the UK defence industry. Michael Davis will address the challenges the industry is facing with skills shortages and gaps. He will give a brief overview of the Employer Ownership of Skills Pilot and the principles that support this. Nigel Whitehead will go on to discuss his experience with BAE Systems and what they are doing to attract young people and ensure they are meeting future skills needs.

Michael Davis is the Chief Executive of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills. He previously held the position of the Commission's Director of Strategy and Performance. Before joining the UK Commission, Michael was the Managing Director of CFE. He led CFE from a start-up company to becoming a national specialist in policy for skills, employment and economic development. He was previously Chairman of Lastolite Ltd, a leading manufacturer of backgrounds and lighting control systems for the photo and video industry, and Chairman of Leicester College.

Nigel Whitehead was appointed Group Managing Director of Programmes and Support at BAE Systems plc in 2008. In his current role, he is responsible for some of the UK's largest engineering, manufacturing and support services programmes. Nigel was previously Group Managing Director of the Military Air Solutions business within BAE Systems, during which time he was also a Supervisory Board Member of Eurofighter GmbH. He has been active in the defence and security sectors for twenty seven years, including working in design, development, production and support programmes in the UK, Sweden and Australia.

An optional £10 sandwich lunch shall be available from 1215.

This event is open to all RUSI members. To become a member, please click here.

To attend this event, please register online using the "Book your place" button above. If you have any queries please contact Sarah Morrison, Members' Events Coordinator, at or call +44 (0)20 7747 2600.

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