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Defence giant Leonardo to bring 200+ jobs to Newcastle Helix


Multinational defence and security firm Leonardo has announced that it is investing in creating a new, high-tech science and engineering facility on Newcastle Helix.

The Helix is the 24-acre city centre development that brings together industry leaders, businesses, and top researchers in an internationally renowned innovation cluster.

Leonardo UK expects to employ over 200 people at the new site, which will be its eighth facility in the UK, generating over £185m of economic benefit in the region over the next ten years.

With the support of Invest Newcastle, Leonardo will be looking to access talent from across the North East and build closer links with small and medium sized local businesses, many of which are already part of its nationwide supply chain.

New jobs will be high-value science and engineering roles, including those focusing on emergent digital and data technologies, as well as a firm commitment by Leonardo to provide early career opportunities.

Jennifer Hartley, director of Invest Newcastle, part of Newcastle Gateshead Initiative, said: “This significant investment from Leonardo represents a major boost for the city’s burgeoning defence and aerospace sector that will add millions of pounds to the local economy. It is testament to the strength of our technology ecosystem, research expertise and ability to attract and retain the best talent.

“[Alongside] the Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) becoming operational on Newcastle Helix, we now have a nationally significant cluster that will drive further investment, innovation and good jobs at all levels for our region’s residents.”

Leonardo is best known for its production of UK military helicopters and the cutting-edge electronics on-board Royal Air Force aircraft and Leonardo is one of the biggest suppliers to the UK Ministry of Defence. Its 8,000-strong UK workforce represents some of the country’s leading science and engineering talent.

The company is also at the heart of the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP), the initiative by the UK, Italy and Japan to produce a new sixth generation jet to go into service in 2035, and its cyber security business has been trusted for decades to protect the UK Government’s most sensitive information.

The new site in Newcastle will focus on research, development and prototyping of Leonardo’s next generation sensing, security and vertical lift products and represents a 50 per cent expansion of the company’s UK-wide early careers opportunities, with an additional 300 apprentices, industrial placements and graduate scheme starters being hired in 2023.

Clive Higgins, chair and CEO of Leonardo UK said: “The UK’s defence and aerospace industry is an engine for economic growth, prosperity and security, representing world-class research and technology and many thousands of well-paid jobs and amazing career opportunities for young people entering the workforce. Our new site in Newcastle will allow us to expand even further, drawing on science and engineering skills from the North East region in order to develop the next generation of digitally-led technologies.”

In addition to the work done by Invest Newcastle, the North of Tyne Combined Authority has also played a leading role in attracting Leonardo to the North East, making £420,000 available through its Inward Investment Fund to support job creation. As part of the funding, Leonardo UK will sign up to the North of Tyne’s Good Work Pledge and commit to achieving the Advanced Award within a reasonable timeframe.

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