Principal chosen to captain new UK shipbuilding skills taskforce

Captain Dr Paul Little, who is chief executive of City of Glasgow College, will lead a team of 20 members from across the UK as part of the project

Captain Dr Paul Little, who is chief executive of City of Glasgow College, will lead a team of 20 members from across the UK as part of the project

24 May 2022, 11:29

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The government has announced the chair to steer its new skills taskforce for the UK’s shipbuilding industry.

Captain Dr Paul Little, who is chief executive of City of Glasgow College, will lead a team of 20 members from across the UK as part of the project.

The cross-government National Shipping Strategy was launched back in March and includes a commitment for the Department for Education to develop a skills strategy for the sector, which currently supports 42,600 jobs.

Little has had a part-time maritime career that included deployment with the US Coastguard. He has also “transformed” five UK tertiary institutions and has what the government called a “strong international reputation”. 

“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,” Little said.  

“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.”

Little 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.

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.

The taskforce will last for 18 months and aims to build a picture of the industry’s skills needs and provide solutions to skills shortages – particularly those related to new and emerging technologies and zero-emissions shipping.

“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,” skills minister Alex Burghart. 

“I’m delighted [to] 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.”

There are currently 16 apprenticeships available for the maritime industry. There are also a number of level 3 qualifications for the sector, as well as traineeships.

The taskforce will explore what other courses are needed to supplement the existing offer.

The 20 members of the Taskforce are:

  • Linton Roberts, Chief Technology Officer, Cammell Laird Ship repairers and Shipbuilders Ltd and A&P Group Ltd.
  • Adrian Bevin, Head of Curriculum, Technology, South Devon College
  • Commodore Andrew Martin Cree, Deputy Director Future Training, Royal Navy
  • Edward James Corbett, Project Engineer, representing Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU)
  • Elizabeth O’Connor, Human Resources and Legal Director, MJM Marine Ltd
  • Hannah Prowse, CEO, Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust
  • Keith Longman, Yard Manager, Berthon Boat Company Ltd.
  • Kerrie Forster, CEO, Workboat Association
  • Mark Whitehead, Snr Client and Commercial Manager, Bibby Marine
  • Matt Bolton, Executive Officer, UKNEST
  • Matthew Guy, Human Resources Director, Thales UK
  • Nick Mansell, Chief Executive Officer, Intermarine UK
  • Patrick Carnie, Strategy Director, Marine and Engineering Systems, Babcock International Group
  • Paul Feely, Academy and Engineering Director, BAE Systems Naval
  • Paul Turner, HR Director, Princess Yachts Ltd
  • Rachel Kitley, Principal, Cowes Enterprise College, Ormiston Academies Trust (OAT)
  • Richard Westgarth, Industry Engagement, BMT MarRI-UK, as well as Adjunct Professor at the Southampton Marine    and Maritime Institute.
  • Sarah Dhanda, Head of Policy and Partnerships, Enginuity
  • Tahsin Tezdogan, University Reader in Naval Architecture, University of Strathclyde


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