Gordon has met with apprentices at BAE Systems at the new Academy for Skills and Knowledge in Samlesbury as part of his work countrywide for National Apprenticeships Week.
He was taken around the £15.3 million state of the art training centre adjacent to BAE’s Warton base which only opened last December, by David Holmes, BAE’s Manufacturing Operations Director.
Gordon, who is also Labour's Shadow Skills Minister, was shown the cutting edge facilities which mirror the factory layouts at BAE systems and uses the latest technologies in advance manufacturing - including robotics, 3D printing and a virtual reality “cave”, which Gordon experienced for himself, which allows the user in a virtual aeroplane environment to explore and solve problems.
He then had a Q&A session with a group of apprentices both male and female doing a variety of different courses run by the company. A full-size Hawk Jet was also on display at the academy to show the apprentices what they can also aspire to.
He said: “It is an exciting time to be a BAE apprentice with the training and opportunities available to them at the academy. From chatting to some of the apprentices, it is clear that they are getting an all-around experience with a combination of theoretical and practical skills on their courses.
“Both as Shadow Skills Minister but also as a Lancashire MP for nearly 20 years, I have always known how committed BAE has been to education and learning. But also how they and the businesses locally as part of their supply chain, are crucial to offering good jobs and careers to people in Blackpool and the on Fylde Coast.
“This significant investment in the academy at the Samlesbury Enterprise Zone further demonstrates this commitment to skills and training for the next generation, as well as their involvement with both Lancashire County Council, Blackpool Council and also the Local Enterprise Partnership.”
Gordon, who has been taking through the new Technical and Further Education Bill for Labour in Parliament, explained one of the company’s successes over the years had been training surplus apprentices which meant other companies in the wider supply chain and sector had the skills they needed in the long term.
In 2017, BAE, will take on 574 apprentices across the country, one in five of whom will be in Lancashire and many of them studying for an academic qualification one day a week alongside their apprenticeship. This allowed them to gain a university-equivalent degree in a specific specialism.
Dave Holmes, Manufacturing Director at BAE Systems Military Air & Information, said: "We were delighted to welcome Gordon to our new Academy for Skills & Knowledge and to introduce him to many of our apprentices who represent some of the brightest and best in Lancashire.
"BAE Systems has a proud pedigree of developing young talent through our apprenticeship programme and our investment in world-class facilities at the Academy shows our commitment to continuing this work."