Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has been highlighting the benefits of defence to local jobs and industry during a visit to military hangar specialist Rubb Buildings.
The Defence Secretary visited Rubb in Gateshead to meet with staff and tour the facility. Rubb is a global leader in innovative defence structures and hangars for the military sector. The company has been a long-standing supplier to the UK Armed Forces, going back to 1979 when the RAF tasked the company to supply military buildings for the world-famous Red Arrows.
Defence Minister Gavin Williamson said: “It has been a pleasure to see the full production line and a privilege to see the projects Rubb has been involved in. What’s so impressive is coming around the factory and seeing all the work the company does, not only for the RAF but for all three armed services, making sure they have the right type of equipment for the type of activity being carried out at any given time.
“It’s been interesting to learn that Rubb has been supporting our armed forces for more than 40 years. It’s really lovely to see the quality and craftmanship that goes into the work, matched with the company’s ability to adapt quickly to different needs.
“It is really important to work well with the whole supply chain to make sure the right type equipment is developed and designed for the next generation of fast jets like the F35s and the future generation of aircraft like the Tempest, which will go into production in the early to mid 2020s.”
He added: “A strong defence industry throughout the four corners of the UK is crucial to our economy, as well as our national security, and Rubb UK is an outstanding example of our world-leading homegrown engineers in the North East. Their workers are part of some 700 jobs we support in this area, and their pride in making the homes for our world-class jets and aircraft is clear to see. With this region benefitting from £100m of defence investment and in line for more business, it is playing a key role in ensuring our Armed Forces have what they need to protect our country from intensifying threats.”
The Ministry of Defence benefits from Rubb’s expertise in rapid deployable hangar solutions, which have been used to house and protect operation-ready fighter jets and carry out essential maintenance on large Chinook helicopters.
The hangars have been invaluable to UK, Canadian and US forces deployed on operations across the globe. Rubb continues to provide the Armed Forces with long-term assets and is exploring the potential of cutting-edge cooling techniques and structural fabric technology for the UK’s new Lightning jets.
Ian Hindmoor, Managing Director at Rubb Buildings Ltd, said: “Working with the MOD is a long-standing relationship that we have nurtured over the years. We are proud to be part of an industry that helps provide equipment which supports our troops at home and in the field. It is encouraging to learn that the North East is being recognised for its engineering knowledge and skills, and for Rubb to be recognised as an ‘outstanding’ example in this field by the Defence Secretary. We hope to see future investment in this industry so R&D and jobs can continue to grow.”
The Secretary of State also met with Rubb’s most recently qualified Technical Apprentice Liam Whyatt, 21, from Heworth. The company takes a real sense of pride in the dedication and longevity of many of Rubb’s long-serving members of staff, many of whom have grown from apprenticeship roles to management positions. Many long-standing members of the team have achieved more than 25 years’ service. Rubb’s first ever apprentice in 1977 exemplifies the importance of the company as a local employer as he has now risen to become Steel Production Manager after more than 40 years of service. The company is proud to see high standards of training continue with Liam, who has just completed his NVQ Diploma in Mechanical Engineering. Rubb hopes to take on more apprentices in the near future.
Rubb is currently fulfilling a five-year, single source contract, with a value of £6.86 million with the MOD. This will run until October 2018 and encompasses the provision of military shelters, repairs, refurbishments, spare parts and Post Design Services (PDS) where Rubb provides support and solutions to any difficulties associated with the infrastructure that might be encountered in the field. Much of the work helps sustain employment for 51 employees, including five military dedicated operatives. Key suppliers include Niko Ltd, Hydro, Anixter Fasteners and local suppliers Airowsafe, Birtley Galvanizing, Rotational Engineering, SMW and Elite Powder Coatings.
Meanwhile, new key projects for Rubb include a training facility for Coventry City Football Club, which measures 47.4m x 67m long, an exciting project onboard a vessel at sea, to provide cover for wind turbine blade improvement and upgrade work, a new building project for automotive components giant Nifco and a series of structures for Cavendish Nuclear.
Earlier this month, former Defence Minister Philip Dunne released a wide-ranging report highlighting how Defence is integral to British prosperity. The independent review looks right across the Armed Forces and industry to provide an in-depth picture to inform and feed proposals for reform into the MDP ahead of its release. The review was clear that Defence investment benefits every region of the UK.