Written by Matt Hogsden, Industry Secondee
Already employing 1800 highly skilled workers since its launch in 2018, Team Tempest is key to securing UK skills and jobs which will allow it to remain a global leader in combat air into the coming decades.
At FIA Connect in July another seven companies became part of the programme: General Electric UK, GKN Aerospace, Collins Aerospace UK, Martin Baker, QinetiQ, Bombardier Belfast and Thales UK. Spread throughout the country these additional partners will undoubtedly bring important expertise and innovation to the technology initiative.
This broad industrial footprint supports the Government’s Levelling Up agenda by generating jobs across all four nations, providing a strong platform from which to develop local partnerships between large companies, SMEs, academia and authorities. This not only bolsters regions with an existing defence presence but can reach new companies and areas with skills in adjacent sectors.
Spending on military programmes also causes spill-over into other sectors; every £1 spent on aerospace R&D creates a further £7 in the economy, and every 1000 jobs in defence generates another 1900 jobs in the UK. Through these multiplier benefits and a cross-sector approach to skills Team Tempest could be a catalyst for bringing together the best of British engineering.
The project is a fantastic opportunity to energise ‘Generation Tempest’, a new wave of highly skilled workers, and so boost the UK’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) base. Inspiring the next generation of engineers for the next generation fighter jet will be key to the UK maintaining its industrial and military advantage well into the future.
However, this must not come at the expense of retaining qualified and experienced employees. Instead, upskilling the current workforce will increase productivity, competitiveness and innovation, which is essential if it is to deliver world leading capability at significantly lower cost and time to market. Further, as the civil aerospace sector is set to suffer lower demand for several years, defence programmes such as Tempest provide opportunities to retrain workers and prevent mass redundancies.
Through creating and supporting jobs across multiple sectors, Team Tempest will promote UK prosperity. By inspiring and developing the workforce, it will ensure the security of our nation and our allies. Currently making up 10% of the UK’s combat air sector, and set to increase further in 2021, Team Tempest is vital to the future of UK Defence.