The Defence Industry in Worcestershire

It was a happy coincidence that I was able to mark my second anniversary as a defence minister in my county of Worcestershire at an event of real significance to the county and to defence.
I was speaking at Malvern College, just outside my own constituency, at a celebration of the 70th anniversary of the development of radar at Malvern. It was organised by QinetiQ, who now operate the site.

As the minister responsible for both Defence Equipment and Technology it was good to be able combine my strong personal support for local business and for science with my government job.

QinetiQ may employ fewer people than it did but itís still a major centre of scientific endeavour and it lies at the heart of a vibrant local knowledge economy with a strong defence component.

The next day I was in Cheltenham meeting the young apprentices of GE Aviation and again celebrating the strength of British research and manufacturing, not just in defence but also in the wider aerospace sector.

As I travel the country meeting defence companies of all sizes I am very often told that the main challenge they face is finding young people to join them. One company recently told me they were recruiting engineers in Spain and Portugal simply because they couldnít find suitably qualified people in the UK.

The real risk to our continuing success is that young people who would make brilliant engineers and scientists are too often deterred from going into careers in these areas because they just donít know how strong and vibrant they are.

So, it was great to see local young people contributing and making a difference - and from what they told me they are determined to inspire others to do the same.


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