Creating an engine for growth

The Clyde Naval Base is the biggest single site employer in Scotland with over 6,500 civilian and naval personnel working together.

Central to the smooth running of Britain’s submarine fleet is Babcock, a market leading FTSE 100 organisation which alone brings in over £480m of Gross Value Add (GVA) to the Scottish economy each year, with around £90million of that money benefiting the communities around Helensburgh and Lomond.

Faslane submarine base

Faslane submarine base

Of the organisation’s 27,000 strong global workforce around 1,400 serve at Faslane. It’s their role to manage engineering work on all ships and submarines as well as provide a comprehensive range of support services – including logistics, facilities management and the provision of accommodation, catering and domestic services for Royal Navy personnel.

The unique partnership between a private company and the Ministry of Defence on such a scale was somewhat of a pioneering move 11 years ago.

However, since starting operations within HMNB Clyde in 2002 it has delivered cost savings while maintaining or improving services to the Royal Navy. To date it has saved over £170m and is projected to deliver £200m over the contract term.

Peter Merriman, Director and General Manager – Clyde Babcock International Group, said: “Our workload at the base is increasing. Clyde will be the UK submarine base and we are looking at a period of growth.”

All of this is good news for Babcock, the base and Helensburgh as investment in training, the employment of apprentices and the establishment of a new Babcock Academy will mean new jobs and more people coming to live in the area.

The company already plays a major role in the community. It sponsors the annual half marathon, has been generous towards supporting the rugby club and Rhu amateurs soccer team, and helped the Town’s Heritage society, sea cadets and many other causes.Overall the company has an annual budget for donations to local charities of around £10,000.

Distribution of funds is decided by the employee led Community Investment Group and consideration given to charities that fall into the areas of Education, Regeneration and Environment.

It also sponsors groups participating in sporting and community activities to the tune of between £20,000 and £25,000 per year, and provides a considerable amount of help “in kind” to local organisations, such as carrying out mock interviews; being involved with enterprise activities within schools; providing catering for events and getting apprentices to advise on career days.

“A lot of our workforce tends to be local but a lot are like myself, I come from Yorkshire originally and came up here with the Navy. I liked it and stayed,” added Peter.

“It’s a great place to live. The amenities are fantastic. There’s no sitting in traffic jams every day and we’re less than 10 minutes from Loch Lomond.

“As a company we want to get involved with the community because it’s the right thing to do. Our employees live in the area and if we can help make this an even better place where people want to live and work that’s in everybody’s interest.”

welder

As the UK’s leading engineering support services organisation, with revenue of around £3billion in 2012 and an order book of £13 billion, the company is dedicated towards improving education and encouraging more youngsters into the various engineering disciplines and other areas.It already sponsors a MSc Programme with Strathclyde University and cultivated an award winning partnership with Clydebank College.

“We have about 40 apprentices at the moment and usually take about 10 a year,” added Peter.

“Our career path is excellent. One of our former apprentices is now Project Manager over in Canada while another is Chief Executive in Australia.

“We have traditionally been an engineering company but we do many other things at the base from cooking and serving meals to cutting the grass and calibrating periscopes.

“One youngster working with out catering department went on to take part in Master Chef. At Babcock there are opportunities to follow many different career paths. Not everyone is cut out to be an engineer.”