On Friday 31 May 2018 Nick Thomas-Symonds, MP for Torfaen and Shadow Minister for Security and Solicitor General visited defence, security and aerospace company BAE Systems in Glascoed. The visit was part of the Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT) Fellowship programme*, which explores skills and employment across a range of sectors, enabling parliamentarians to visit workplaces and learn more about key employers.
The BAE Systems site in Glascoed employs over 600 people in the local area, many of whom live inside Nick’s constituency of Torfaen. The site also offers several apprenticeship schemes in a range of fields from mechanical to chemical engineering. During the visit, Nick was given a site tour, which included insight into the ammunition production and quality assurance at the factory. This was followed by an introduction to the types of ammunition that are manufactured at the Glascoed factory as well as understanding the importance of the UK supply chain. Supplier relationships are important for BAE Systems, as they depend on them to help deliver the products and systems to customers.
The highlight of the visit for Nick was a discussion with local apprentices. Nick was able to gain an understanding into the various qualities needed to nurture talent and develop skills during the apprenticeship. Nick was also able to see the Heritage Centre charting the history of the site, where his grandmother Olwyn Thomas worked when it was a Royal Ordnance Factory.
Nick’s IPT Fellowship Programme has enabled him to take part in several educational industry visits to further his knowledge on skills and employment in the UK, including issues and opportunities employers face not only across a range of sectors but also in the local economy. Earlier in the year, Nick also spent four days of his Fellowship programme learning about courts and tribunals across England and Wales with the Royal Courts of Justice.
Commenting on the visit, Nick said:
“I thoroughly enjoyed today’s visit to BAE Systems in Glascoed, and more generally have had an excellent time during my Fellowship programme. The BAE Systems factory is a significant source of employment in my constituency and it was great to see first-hand the development at the site and hear from the apprentices. I would like to thank the IPT in supporting this visit and helping to bring Parliamentarians and industry closer together.
Craig Fennell, Future Programmes Director at BAE Systems Land UK added:
“We were very happy to give Nick a warm Glascoed welcome and show him how proud we are to equip the British Armed Forces. Glascoed is BAE Systems’ largest site in Wales and has been at the heart of the local community since it opened in 1940. We also talked to Nick about what the site contributes to the Welsh national economy, with over £119m spent with our Welsh suppliers over the last ten years.”