Security cleared jobs news roundup: March 2022

Published on: 1 Apr 2022

We're rounding up some of the biggest security cleared stories of the past few weeks. In March, a government report highlighted the value of the UK's defence sector to the economy, progress was made on the next generation of British Army tanks and plans were unveiled to further support the country's shipbuilding industry.

New report highlights value of the defence sector to UK economy

A new report from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has highlighted the value of the defence sector to the UK's economy, in terms of jobs, businesses supported and exports. It found more than 10,000 companies received funds from the MoD in 2020/21, helping support thousands of jobs, including 5,000 apprentices. 

The research also noted the average salary for roles in this sector stood at £45,000 in 2020, some 16 per cent higher than the UK average. Over a fifth of direct MoD spending went to small and medium-sized  firms, while defence exports between 2016 and 2020 averaged £4.6 billion a year.

Minister for defence procurement Jeremy Quin said: "The defence sector is driving prosperity, strengthening the economy, supporting jobs and building skills right across the UK. [The report] provides new insights on the value of the sector - beyond keeping us safe in times of trouble – and I am delighted to see industry and government working together to help us grow our understanding of that vital contribution."

Government launches new vision for future UK shipbuilding

The government has unveiled a refreshed National Shipbuilding Strategy that will see £4 billion of investment into the sector across the next three years and more than 150 new vessels - including navy and commercial ships - built in the UK over the next 30 years.

The update builds on initiatives first set out in 2017 to transform the UK's naval procurement, as well as securing export and design contracts for British-built naval ships for  countries such as Australia and Canada. The additional £4 billion investment will "galvanise and support shipyards and suppliers across the UK", as well as provide funding for crucial research and development into greener vessels and infrastructure.

Among the vessels to be constructed under the strategy are lage warships such as Type 26 and Type 31 combat ships, Fleet Solid Support vessels, Border Force cutters, lighthouse vessels and a new national flagship. Defence secretary Ben Wallace said: "We will be levelling-up across our shipbuilding workforce, from shipyard to supplier, from procurement to designer, creating tens of thousands of new employment opportunities, boosting living standards and pay."

More efforts needed to help retain new police officers

Greater efforts must be made to encourage new recruits to avoid leaving the police too early, after it was revealed that attrition rates for new joiners are at a concerningly high level.

Data from the National Police Chiefs’ Council seen by Police Oracle revealed that nationwide, 9.1 per cent of officers leave the service before completing their probation period. Between November 2019 and April 2020, this accounted for 2,567 leavers out of 28,173 new recruits. However, in some forces, attrition rates were significantly higher, with almost one in five recruits in Northamptonshire (19.3 per cent) exiting during probation.

A spokesperson for the Police Federation of England and Wales said: "Our members deserve more investment in mental health and wellbeing, better benefits and the most appropriate integrated learning that equips them for the reality of policing ... Leaders must ensure they do not just focus on getting people through the door, but also do what is needed to keep them by putting their workforce first."     

New milestone reached in development of next-generation tanks

The MoD has this month celebrated the latest milestone in the development of its next generation of main battle tank, the Challenger 3, after the first steel was cut for the turrets of the new equipment. The armour is set to be ready for initial operations by 2027 and serve until at least 2040. 

In total, 148 Challenger 3's are being upgraded by Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land under an £800 million contract. As part of this, Pearson Engineering in Newcastle has been awarded a £25 million sub-contract for the turrets that will secure 285 jobs in the north-east, as well as 20 apprentices. 

The MoD noted that the new turret will provide the Challenger 3 with "state-of-the-art lethality, upgraded survivability, and world-class surveillance and targeting technologies". Its capabilities include the ability to use high velocity ammunition with faster speeds and increased range and a fully digitised system, as well as upgrades to the vehicles' engine, suspension, targeting and night-vision capabilities.