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NCW2023 – Marine and Defence

Did you know that Plymouth is known worldwide for its marine science and technology expertise? Over 300 marine-related businesses are operating in Plymouth accounting for over 10% of employment in the city. The work ranges from world-leading research, design and build, innovation and cutting-edge technology.

Plymouth is home to Devonport Dockyard, the largest naval base in Western Europe, which is the sole nuclear repair and refuelling facility for the Royal Navy accounting for over 11% of employment in the city. Alongside this, defence companies such as Thales, MSubs, BMT, Chess Dynamics, Artemis Optical, Collins Aerospace, Babcock and Barden are all based here in the city.

Within the marine sector, Plymouth is home to Turnchapel Wharf, there is planning for Plymouth and South Devon Freezone a Freeport which will create thousands of new jobs, and it also houses a 35-hectare site on the southern edge of Devonport Dockyard for Oceansgate, which will bring together marine businesses and create a world-class hub for marine industries in Plymouth!

Plymouth is host to the UK’s first National Marine Park. Plymouth Sound has been instrumental in shaping our city and nation’s heritage, culture, wealth and security and the National Marine Park will encourage greater prosperity and engagement with our marine environment. This will be achieved through activity linked with five key gateways: Tinside, the National Marine Aquarium, Mountbatten, Mount Edgcumbe and Smart Sound.

Plymouth has some great specialist companies on its doorstep, including ABP, Applied Automation, ARGANS, Atlantis Marine Power, Babcock, Brittany Ferries, Fugro, Interish, Manyplas, Marine AI, Marine Biological Association, Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Mashfords, MSubs, Ocean Electric Power, Plymouth Boat Trips, PML Applications, Princess Yachts International, Sonardyne, Thales UK, Turnchapel Wharf and WITT.

These businesses will need software engineers, mechanical engineers, electronic/electrical engineers and people with IT and robotic skills both now and in the future, so if you are looking to train for the marine and defence industries City College Plymouth, Babcock (via apprenticeships) and the University of Plymouth are great places to start.

You can also access this industry through apprenticeships – not just with Babcock either. Click here for our latest Apprenticeship Bulletin.

For more localised information on Plymouth’s defence sector, click here for the Invest Plymouth’s Defence in Plymouth Fact Sheet, or for the marine sector, click here.


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