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Defence

Babcock wins Social Value category at MoD Sanctuary Awards

Babcock has been named winner of the Social Value category at this year’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) Sanctuary Awards.

Image courtesy Babcock

The award recognises Babcock’s Production Support Operative (PSO) programme that is supporting the delivery of the next generation of warships for the Royal Navy while helping people with a route to employment who may otherwise have found it difficult.

The MoD Sanctuary Awards is an annual celebration of outstanding sustainability and conservation efforts across the Ministry of Defence. The Social Value Award recognises projects with a focus on the social aspects of sustainability, including community engagement and education.

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Babcock developed the PSO programme, in partnership with Trade Unions and local community partners, to meet resourcing and skills requirements at its Rosyth facility for the build of five Type 31 frigates.

The PSO initiative is focused on attracting people from a range of backgrounds and experience, including those not currently in education, employment or training, with the role centred around supporting and learning from time-served tradespeople.
Social value is at the heart of the programme. It is helping to tackle economic inequality and improve social mobility by targeting recruitment from areas of higher deprivation. It is also reducing barriers to employment and creating equal opportunities with the removal of educational restrictions and provision of neurodiverse support, as well as improving gender balance in industrial roles with the recruitment of females into the PSO programme.

Strong community partnerships and engagement are key to the programme. For the recruitment phase, Fife Council has created a bespoke Pre-Employment Programme, which includes local training solutions by Kingdom Works, Exp-Learn and Opportunity Fife and is the first of its kind in Scotland with a remarkable 100% employment rate to date. Fife College provides between three and five weeks of capability development for every cohort of new PSO recruits, including general health and safety training and specific skills for the role.

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Education and skills development are a fundamental part of the programme. Following initial training, PSOs can further develop through on the job learning and potentially gain qualifications to become skilled tradespeople in the future.
 
Paul Armstrong, Chief Executive of Marine for Babcock, said: “Babcock is fully committed to making a positive difference to the communities that we serve, providing high-quality jobs that support local economies. We are extremely honoured to have won the Social Value Award at the prestigious MoD Sanctuary Awards, amongst some really tough competition.

“Since the launch of the programme in April 2022, we have employed more than 150 PSOs and will create a further 350 PSO roles over the next four years as part of 1,000 new jobs at our state-of-the-art Rosyth site.”

The PSO programme continues to grow and similar programmes are being replicated in other parts of Babcock’s UK business, demonstrating its commitment to creating and upskilling the workforce.

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