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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 August, 2003, 19:02 GMT 20:02 UK
Shipbuilding workforce pledge
Defence contract work at Govan
Work on the defence contract has begun at Govan
BAE Systems aims to double its shipbuilding workforce on the River Clyde over the next few years, according to its managing director.

Vic Emery told BBC Scotland that future orders at home and abroad would help reverse years of decline.

During a tour of the Clyde yards on Tuesday Mr Emery said he had never known a more optimistic time within the industry.

This year BAE Systems - which employs 2,000 people at its Clyde yards - has recruited 100 apprentices.

Mr Emery said: "In my career we have spent most of our time downsizing.

"If you look at the industry it's got smaller and smaller. We now have a situation where we can look forward with some stability.

"We have stability for our workforce and in fact we have the opportunity to expand the workforce to about 4,000 people - which is considerably more than the current population."

Vic Emery, BAE Systems managing director
We now have a situation where we can look forward with some stability
Vic Emery
BAE Systems managing director

Jamie Webster, a shop steward at the yards, said with the workforce average age standing at 47 it was "vital to bring in some young blood".

In January BAE Systems was awarded a 2.9bn aircraft carrier contract.

The Govan and Scotstoun yards in Glasgow will manufacture the ships' three megablocks and the parts will be assembled at the Rosyth dockyard.

The two 950ft long, 60,000 tonne carriers will be the biggest British warships ever built.

The then Scottish Secretary Helen Liddell said the contract would trigger the "rebirth of the Clyde".

Hayley Millar reports
"For the first time in a long time things are looking up"

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30 Jan 03  |  England
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30 Jan 03  |  Business

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