Page last updated at 10:50 GMT, Thursday, 3 July 2008 11:50 UK

Aircraft deal to bring jobs boost

An aircraft carrier
Aircraft carriers are a vital part of the Royal Navy's fleet

The building of two new aircraft carriers is set to bring hundreds of new jobs to Cumbria and Tyneside.

Work is expected to begin at the BAE Systems yard in Barrow on two giant sections for HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales next year.

The 300m project will lead to 400 jobs being created or secured in Cumbria, with a further 300 posts in design.

There will also be 270 jobs, a mixture of existing workers and new contracts, at the A and P yard on the Tyne.

Workers there will be involved in the fabrication of 21 steelwork units for each carrier section.

These will then be transported by sea to Barrow for assembly in its new 40m central assembly shop.

The Barrow yard is also investing more than 10m in a state-of-the-art computer-aided design system, which is being used for the detailed design of the carrier sections.

Up to 130 people are already working on that system.

'Brighter future'

The planned new assembly facility will also be used for the construction of modules for future submarines.

Advanced design work for a successor to the Trident-armed Vanguard class is already under way at the Barrow yard.

Dr Lee Willett, from the independent military think tank the Royal United Services Institute, said: "It should mean a brighter future, certainly in the short and medium term.

"Barrow's mainstream work is related to submarines, and there are ongoing concerns about submarine numbers.

"Work on the carriers will provide a very welcome addition to that."

Ola Oduwole, director of corporate services at Barrow Borough Council, described the news as "excellent".

He said: "It has the potential to enhance employment and skills, and we hope that a lot of the jobs will go to local people.

"It will go hand-in-hand with the area's economic regeneration."

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