Written by Ally Ambroziak, Government Relations, Thales UK.
Last week saw the launch of an independent report commissioned by Thales. We took the decision to look at Thales’s impact on the economy so we could quantify how Thales’s investments make a difference, positively effecting local economies, employment, communities and people. Thales in the UK is a key part of a global technology company that employs 65,000 people worldwide, 6,500 in the UK. We have a proud heritage in the UK, stretching back more than 130 years. We have a presence, supporting jobs and investment in all regions of the country and are uniquely the only defence prime in Northern Ireland. In real terms this mean that Thales supports 27,000 jobs across the UK, meaning for every 100 Thales jobs we support 420 jobs in the wider economy.
As a company we deliver some of the most demanding technology and capabilities to our customers, in the UK and around the world. From re-signalling the London underground to designing the Queen Elizabeth Aircraft Carriers, for us innovation is at the heart of everything we do. This is underpinned by around £130m of research and development annually, both self-funded and funded by customers and partners.
However investment in technology is only one part of the story. Our people are truly our greatest asset. As this is national apprenticeship week it is important to highlight that we have over 400 graduates and apprentices. These are the innovators and engineers of the future and we are committed to investing in our people now and in the future.
As a testament to this investment in people and innovation one of the stand out results from the report is around Thales’s productivity which shows that on average my colleagues are 40% more productive than the national average. This is no accident, as an organisation we have a sharp focus on efficiency – investing strongly in our infrastructure, supply chain and engineering tools including state of the art digital technologies, such as AI and autonomy. We fully recognise the imperative to be globally competitive and provide value for money to our customers.
Thales has supported the Industrial Strategy from the outset, with our site in Crawley chosen as one of the places to launch the programme in 2017. Since then the focus on productivity and prosperity through the grand challenges and sector deals has been a sign of the government’s commitment to investing in and growing high tech industries and sectors. The aerospace sector deal and the rail sector deal are both supported by Thales and are for me very important in encouraging investment and innovation in the UK.
Two final metrics that demonstrate clearly the scale of our contribution to the UK economy are our £1.7 billion contribution to GDP and a total tax contribution of over £450m. To conclude, Thales remains committed to the UK and plans to continue to grow and develop here. From the world class academic base, with which Thales has two global strategic partnerships – supporting around 50 PhDs; to the vibrant and diverse supply chain opportunities particularly SMEs who make up approximately 30% of our supply chain – the UK is a vital part of Thales’s ambitions. This all demonstrates the importance of investing in people, innovation and R&D. It provides the vital engine of prosperity which will enable the UK to continue to be a global leader in technology.
Read the full report here.