BARROW’S biggest employer has spoken of its pride to be part of the Cumbria community despite recent negative press about the town.

BAE Systems in Barrow has offered up overwhelming praise for its highly-skilled workforce, world-class products and Cumbria community.

This comes after national newspaper The Sun published an article which branded Barrow as a ‘drug-plagued’ town with a death-row high street.

Community leaders hit out against the claims with Barrow MP Simon Fell calling them ‘disgusting’.

READ MORE: The Sun's 'ill-thought out attack' on Barrow branded 'disgusting'

BAE Systems – which employs 10,000 people - are among those spotlighting Barrow’s proud achievements.

“Pride is the key emotion driving BAE Systems Submarines in Barrow,” a spokesman said.

“The company is justifiably proud of the crucial role it plays supporting the Royal Navy; proud of its world-class products; proud of its highly skilled workforce and proud to be part of the Cumbria community.

In Cumbria:

“As the home of UK submarine design and build, Barrow has a rich naval history. Since launching the first submarine in 1901, more than 300 boats have rolled off the production line in Barrow-in-Furness, representing the output of a unique industrial base.

“Today the company's main focus is on Astute and Dreadnought, and it is planning for a future generation of submarines with the aim of growing and sustaining its skills and industrial capability for decades to come.

“The submarines business currently employs around 10,000 people, mainly in Barrow where they make a vital contribution to the economy.

“With five submarines under construction, across two different programmes, the Barrow shipyard is set to maintain its position as the area's largest employer for many years to come. To support this, there is an ongoing recruitment requirement, with vacancies across all areas of the business, while each year it also employs upwards of 300 apprentices at its Barrow site.

READ MORE: Barrow is a town worth championing - here's why

“To support these apprentices, a £25 million investment in the state-of-the-art Submarines Academy for Skills and Knowledge opened in 2018 to drive future talent programmes and provide life-long learning opportunities for our workforce. The facility boasts 10 workshops, 30 classrooms and a virtual reality suite.

“The business is committed to working with partners to ensuring its ongoing success provides support to the community within which it operates.”

The shipyard’s extensive work in the community tackling unemployment and supporting charities is also an area worth noting.

A spokesman said: “Last month the BAE Systems Submarines' Social Impact Report illustrated the breadth and depth of assistance provided which ranges from charitable donations and community events to STEM education and extensive supply chain support.

“In 2020/21, the business supported nearly 200 community projects. Some of the projects were in response to Covid-19, such as the creation of temporary hospital facilities. When the pandemic impacted education provision, the business stepped in to provide 170 laptop computers to local year 10 pupils and made a range of resources available through its online learning hub.

In Cumbria: BAE Systems from aboveBAE Systems from above (Image: Archive)

“Other notable initiatives involved supporting education and skills activities, heritage projects and initiatives to help Armed Forces veterans and their families.

“The business is also a leading proponent of employment initiatives such as Movement to Work and Kickstart, which tackle youth unemployment by offering work placements to individuals currently outside of work, education or training. To date, almost 200 young people have benefited from these programmes in Barrow, more than half of whom have gone on to further employment with the company.”