Mike Wood, MP for Dudley South, visited the MBDA UK site in Stevenage as part of his Industry and Parliament Trust Fellowship on 22 November 2018. Mike’s Fellowship focusses on learning about the challenges that manufacturing businesses face relating to skills, supply chains and exports within the aerospace and automotive sectors.
MBDA is a global defence manufacturer with sites in seven countries. Mike’s visit to Stevenage came after a corporate briefing at their Strand offices in May and will be followed by a visit to their manufacturing facility in Bolton next year. During the visit Mike found out more about their trade portfolio management agreements and export system. Learning how large businesses in the UK deal with their trade arrangements in the UK and overseas provided Mike with invaluable insight in his role as PPS to Liam Fox as Secretary of State for International Trade and the President of the Board of Trade. Mike also had the opportunity to see for himself MBDA’s innovations in R&D, including a demonstration of their use of virtual reality, their Synthetic Environment Lab.
For the manufacturing industry it is essential to build a workforce that has the skills to lead them into a future, where technological advancements may be key to the success of future of a business. In doing his Fellowship, Mike is interested in learning how businesses are using apprenticeships to facilitate a skilled workforce and exploring the key challenges and opportunities that apprenticeship schemes present. During his visit he had a working lunch with MBDA apprentices and graduates, taking the opportunity to find out about their experiences on the MBDA apprenticeship programme and what they feel the business is doing for them and their future.
Mike will take the knowledge gained from the visit not only into his parliamentary position but also to his Dudley South constituency – where manufacturing jobs make up a large part of the employment landscape – and he looks forward to learning more at MBDA’s Bolton site in the new year.