UK’s first Shipbuilding Skills Taskforce announces membership

The UK wide Taskforce will develop a strategy to boost skills and jobs in the shipbuilding industry.

Principal and Chief Executive of City of Glasgow College, Dr Paul Little, will Chair the Taskforce.

An academic leader with a successful part-time maritime career that included deployment with the US Coastguard, he has successfully transformed five UK tertiary institutions, and has a strong international reputation.

Recently appointed by Her Majesty The Queen to the senior rank of Honourary Captain in the Royal Navy Reserve, Dr Little brings dynamic leadership to the Taskforce and over 40 years naval insight as a veteran Coastguard Officer, Younger Brother of Trinity House, Fellow of the Nautical Institute, Member of the UK’s Merchant Navy Board and Member of both the Merchant Navy and the Royal Navy Associations.

He will be joined by 20 members from across the UK, providing coverage from industry including SMEs and larger organisations, training providers and trade representative bodies. Dr Little said:

“I am honoured and delighted to be appointed as Chair of the UK Shipbuilding Skills Taskforce, as it will allow me to combine my lifelong passions for Skills and Maritime.

“Some of the very best and most famous ships throughout history were built in yards across the UK, by a talented workforce of naval architects, master technicians and skilled apprentices. I am therefore keen to get started with the first meeting of our highly experienced Taskforce to examine the existing and future shipbuilding skills supply chain and to identify any additional upskilling and reskilling requirements.

“I look forward to working very closely with the National Shipbuilding Office, Civil & Military stakeholders, Colleges and Schools to deliver a renaissance in UK Shipbuilding.”

The Taskforce was announced in March 2022, as part of the cross-government National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSbS), to develop a world-leading skills strategy that will boosts training and job opportunities in the shipbuilding industry particularly those related to new and emerging technologies and zero-emissions shipping.

Minister for Skills, Alex Burghart, said:

“Making sure we can deliver more opportunities for people to train or upskill will be essential to providing the UK shipbuilding industry with the talent pipeline it needs to thrive and get more people into jobs.

“I’m delighted announce the appointment of Captain Dr Paul Little as the Chair of the UK Shipbuilding Skills Taskforce. I know he and all the other members will bring the experience, passion and understanding needed to make this Taskforce a success. I look forward to hearing about their work as the strategy develops.”

The first meeting of the Taskforce is expected to take place in June, and members will soon begin working with the wider industry to explore skills needs and shortages.

City of Glasgow College’s Riverside campus will see the Royal Navy host a Scottish Maritime Cluster Seminar on Thursday 26 May. The seminar will be an in depth look at the National Ship Building Strategy Refresh delivered by the CEO of the National Ship Building Office, Rear Admiral Rex Cox, and chaired by Dr Paul Little.

Rear Admiral, Rex Cox, Chief Executive of the National Shipbuilding Office, said:

I am delighted that Paul Little has been appointed as Chair of the new UK Shipbuilding Skills Taskforce. As Principal and Chief Executive of the City of Glasgow College and with a rich maritime background, Paul is the ideal fit for the role. I am confident that Paul’s appointment together with Taskforce membership drawn from right across the UK, reflecting the true breadth of our Shipbuilding Enterprise, will bring real focus to skills and training.

“The Taskforce will be critical in over-seeing our efforts to ensure that our industry is able to access workers with the right training and skills which is fundamental to our ambition to drive growth and transformation to achieve a globally successful, innovative and sustainable Shipbuilding Enterprise for the UK.”

mailing list remains open for anybody who would like to receive email updates or be part of the consultation group to help to shape the work of the Taskforce.