Advanced Materials & Manufacturing
In 2017, General Dynamics UK made headlines by winning the £330 million contract to design and develop Evolve to Open, the UK Ministry of Defence’s next-generation communication system. As one of the UK’s leading defence specialists, the company’s success owes much to its highly skilled workforce across three sites in Merthyr Tydfil and Oakdale, a former mining village in the south Wales valleys. At Oakdale Business Park, a former colliery, the award will create opportunities for some of the engineers of the future as part of 125 new jobs, continuing the company’s commitment to developing new talent since it first established a base in south Wales when it secured the £2.2 billion Bowman communications programme in 2001.
Apprenticeships at Oakdale are held in partnership with the Newport and District Group Training Association, giving young people the chance to work with managers and mentors. Merthyr Tydfil College, meanwhile, has helped to develop the programme for new talent in Merthyr Tydfil, where ministers were introduced to apprentices when they visited to check on the progress of the new AJAX armoured fighting vehicles being created for UK troops.
“We’ve got some really good young engineers – people who want to move the business forward,” says Andy Oliver, who leads the EvO engineering team. “I’ve been here for 15 years and I’ve learnt a lot in that time. It can be quite intense but if you’re willing to put the effort in you can reap the rewards. The programme that we’re working on shows that we’re looking for new ways of doing things and gives people great opportunities to progress their careers.”