The cyber force with a distinct Lancashire accent - how generations to come will benefit from a new £5bn investment in the county

Generations of Lancastrians to come will benefit from the development of a £5bn cyber force HQ being built in Samlesbury - according to the Lancashire lad leading the project.

By Catherine Musgrove
Thursday, 3rd February 2022, 5:21 pm

Stephen Barclay, who comes from Lytham, and who is lead government minister for cyber, was given an update on the project today while visiting the nearby AMRC building, a cutting-edge research and development site.

>>>Click here to read how the scheme was announced.

As well as creating an initial 2,000 jobs when it opens, Mr Barlcay is hopeful the National Cyber Force (NCF) headquarters near to the BAe site in Samlesbury will be a catalyst for long-lasting improvement in the local area.

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Stephen Barclay visits the AMRC building in Samlesbury

He said the investment demonstrated how the Government's recent Levelling Up strategy will work - by offering highly-skilled and highly paid jobs on Lancastrian's doorsteps and attracting investment in the area.

The white paper sets out how ministers plan to reduce inequalities between different parts of the UK, and Mr Barclay says this is a perfect example of how to stop the London and South East stranglehold on cyber jobs.

>>>What is Levelling Up? Click here to find out how Lancashire is affected.

Mr Barclay said: "There is a real opportunity for jobs here, a catalyst effect.

MP Stephen Barclay

"There will be 2,000 jobs directly related to the centre, but then we will see a magnet effect of talent coming through this investment. We will get international interest as a global leader in cyber, this unlocks all of that here."

It is understood the NCF headquarters will be sited on the Lancashire Enterprise Zone next door to the Samlesbury plant of BAE Systems, but details about the progress of the building or any recruitment were shut down during the ministerial visit.

However, it is expected that most of the jobs will go to people already living in the Lancashire area, rather than people being relocated from elsewhere.

Mr Barclay said: "The vast majority of jobs will be given to people in the local population, that's the whole key to the Levelling Up agenda.

Mr Barclay was shown cutting-edge design tools

"We're also looking at a big increase in skills courses in schools and we're working with FE colleges on their higher education offer. I'm a father of a nine year old and an 11-year-old, and I'm interested in the question of 'where are the jobs of the future?'

"Well, this is a great opportunity for youngsters to see the high-paid, interesting jobs that the county needs. There is a huge opportunity here, as more and more of our lives go online."

NCF has been set up to counter threats from criminals, terrorists and hostile states, as well as child safety protection and even more mundane issues such as reminding people to follow online safety guidance.. Its existence was only formally made public a little over a year ago.

A powerful collaboration between the County Council, the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, the Universities of Lancaster and Central Lancashire and also BAE Systems helped secure the National Cyber Force project for the Samlesbury site, something Mr Barclay says is "perfectly placed to seize the opportunity".

When plans were first announced in October, LCC leader, Coun Phillippa Williamson, said it was "a real vote of confidence in Lancashire", with Debbie Francis, chair of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership calling the investment "a real game-changer for Lancashire".