Make it in Great Britain Industry Champion – Mark Barclay

Mark Barclay

Senior Vice-President, Head of Wing and Pylon Centre of Excellence at Airbus

Mark Barclay is senior vice-president, head of Wing and Pylon Centre of Excellence at Airbus. He is responsible for design and production related activities, a role which spans operations in the UK, Germany, France, Spain, China and the USA. Mark joined Airbus in May 2010, having previously held the position of chief operating officer at Thales UK. He has spent almost thirty years working in the Aerospace, Defence and Services sectors.


Mark Barclay - Airbus

How has your company engaged with young people and the community to improve the image of manufacturing?

Airbus operates in a highly competitive global market and in order to keep our competitive edge and stay ahead of the competition we need to employ enthusiastic, skilled, high quality people. To do this we put a tremendous amount of effort and resource into engaging with young people and the wider community and we do this in a number of different ways.

We support youth projects in the local community such as large-scale sports festivals for primary schools where our graduates and apprentices can get involved with running activities and our employees can watch their children compete. We also bring the science of flight to older children with classroom lessons and glider design challenges in their schools.

When our graduates start with us they are encouraged to join the STEM ambassador programme. We regularly open our doors to school, college and university groups so that they can see high technology design and manufacturing in action and are supporting Make it in Great Britain.

Why did you chose to be an Industry Champion for Make it in Great Britain?

I began my own career as an apprentice and all my colleagues know I’m absolutely passionate about manufacturing. Through the Make it in Great Britain initiative I’m delighted to be able to promote the superb work carried out by Airbus in the UK, and the industry in general. This campaign will highlight achievements, showcase initiatives such as the Airbus apprenticeship and graduate schemes, and demonstrate that British manufacturing is a dynamic sector, offering excellent job, career and investment opportunities.

In the UK we make the wings that the world flies on – we need to celebrate our success more and better inform people that we offer rewarding careers and generate vital employment for tens of thousands of people both through our own facilities and the wider UK supply chain.”

What more needs to be done?

Young people are the life blood of our business and we fully recognise it’s vital to reach out to them to encourage and increase their interest in manufacturing as a career option. We have an active schools liaison programme which enables us to play a key role in the local community and to support and promote STEM subjects.

We work closely with teachers and students as well as educationalists and the Government to support and develop initiative that help equip school leavers with the relevant skills and capabilities for today’s working environment. Examples include our work experience programmes for 200 students at our Broughton and Filton sites, educational visits, in-school presentations, careers events, apprenticeship open events (one of which recently attracted over 5000 people) and support for initiatives such as the promotion of careers in engineering to girls. We are incredibly proud of our industry and through Make it in Great Britain want to get that message out to the people of the UK.