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The sky is not the limit for the UK’s aerospace sector, says adi Group

Published: 24 April 2017 - Sarah Mead

Earlier this month, Santander and EEF published the Manufacturing Aerospace Sector Bulletin, which highlighted the strength of the UK aerospace industry. There are almost 13,567 aircraft on manufacturers’ order books, representing at least 10 years’ work worth around £200 billion1. Growth in the sector will be fuelled by not only the increased demand for passenger aircraft, but also hi-tech parts for spacecraft, rockets and satellites.

James Sopwith, group strategic account director at adi Group and board member of the Midlands Aerospace Alliance (MAA), comments:

“Historically, the UK has always been a world leader in aerospace and it remains so today, having the second-largest industry in the world and the largest in Europe2. As globalisation increases, we are more and more reliant on air travel for trade and the movement of people for work and leisure. Having recognised this, civil airlines are investing heavily in their fleets – increasing the size of their aeroplanes to accommodate more passengers.

“The reason the UK excels in this area is due to the high-level skillsets of its workforce. Home to some of the world’s largest manufacturers for many years, it has retained some of the best talent, driving forward innovations in not only civil aviation, but also defence and space travel. For those with advanced engineering knowledge, the aerospace industry offers exceptionally rewarding and diverse career paths, with the chance to be involved in a number of pioneering projects.

“Indeed, in addition to the aerospace sector, the space manufacturing and research industry is a major contributor to GB’s economic success. Contributing £13.7bn to the UK’s economy alone, as a comparison it is larger than the entire frozen food industry, which is worth approximately £8bn.3,4

“Hopefully, this will have a knock-on effect across the entire supply chain, with manufacturers of specialist components seeing an increased number of orders. As with other areas of aviation, the space industry employs experts to create everything from the tiniest screw, to the most advanced communications systems.

“Despite its ongoing success, the UK must work hard to continue this momentum. Encouraging the younger generation to pursue engineering careers will ensure the UK has a pool of talent to carry on developing and innovating. It’s up to schools, businesses, universities and the Government to engage with children and teenagers early on, so that they develop the necessary skills and enthusiasm to lead the industry in the future. This is why adi Group launched the UK’s first pre-apprenticeship scheme for 14-16 year olds last year, and is providing free support and resources to other businesses to encourage them to adopt the model.

“Advancing technology, a skilled workforce and R&D investment in commercial and defence aerospace means the sky is definitely not the limit for this market sector in the UK – we’re aiming for the solar system.”

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