A national shipbuilding and marine engineering training centre is planned for Cumbria (UK). The centre in Barrow-in-Furness would be the first of its kind, providing skilled workers for the industry. Shipyard owner BAE Systems and Furness College have been given approval to establish a Centre of Vocational Excellence (Cove). BAE Systems employs 4,500 people in the region, and another 5,000 are employed in support industries. Mick Farley, executive director of the Cumbria Learning and Skills Council, said: "The centre would address the skills needs of the local area and of the major employer. "It is an important industry in the region, and BAE has orders stretching into the middle of the next decade. "It is very important that we facilitate the company in meeting its skills needs."
Mr. Farley said the development plan had to be submitted by the middle of October. "This is an opportunity to secure shipbuilding and marine engineering in the North West," he said. David Green, head of technology at Furness College, said: "We need to look at specialising, which will allow us to become the best of the best in shipbuilding and marine technology." He said marine technology was not confined to shipbuilding, but included the oil and energy industries, including wind power.