• Jobs hope as Lockheed Martin considers North East for space plant

    Jobs hope as Lockheed Martin considers North East for space plant

    The aerospace giant could set up a 2,300-job factory in the region.

    The North East is being targeted by a global aerospace company for a 2,300-job factory that aims to take advantage of new opportunities for businesses in space.

    American firm Lockheed Martin says it is “exploring options for a new facility in the North East” in a move that would represent a £50m investment into the region.

    The company, which has more than 100,000 employees and is one the largest defence contractors in the world, says the North East is a “strong contender for our future operations”, with the potential to create high-skilled technology and engineering jobs as it targets the emerging space sector.

    It is expected that more details on the company’s plans will be revealed at a conference on the space sector being held in Newcastle today.

    Nik Smith, Lockheed Martin’s UK and Europe regional director for space, said: “We are committed to making the UK one of the most prosperous and capable space sectors in the world.

    “With its strong manufacturing heritage, highly-skilled workforce and reputation for quality, we’ve identified North East England as a strong contender for our future operations, potentially creating new high-technology engineering and manufacturing jobs for the region.”

    Lockheed Martin has a long track record of work in space, including a number of collaborations with Nasa. That work has spread to the UK in recent years, and the company is part of plans to create a spaceport in the Shetland Islands.

    Senior executives from the company will be in Newcastle today for the Space Sector Skills and Supplier Summit, which aims to highlight opportunities for engineering and other companies in space.

    The North East has previously made efforts to capitalise on some of those opportunities by opening a Space Enterprise Lab linked to the Satellite Applications Catapult at the NETPark science and business park in Sedgefield, County Durham.

    Guy Currey, director of Invest North East England, said: “North East England has a strong and flourishing advanced manufacturing sector, so we are delighted to be working with Lockheed Martin as they expand their UK operations in the space sector.

    “With a vibrant cluster of companies who are leading the way in satellite applications and component manufacture, the region has superb R&D capability, strong skills market, and an extensive supply chain of engineering companies supporting our world-leading automotive and energy sectors, underpinning why North East England is an outstanding location for the space sector.”

    Source: Business Live