Leading industrialist Allan Cook (pictured) is encouraging the aerospace industry to acknowledge a changing sector landscape and take steps to ensure its continued success in an increasingly globalised market at this year’s Farnborough Airshow.
Speaking at a Royal Aeronautical Society event at the show, Cook, who is chairman of Atkins, Selex Galileoand of Semta, the sector skills council for advanced manufacturing, and deputy chairman of Marshal of Cambridge, urged aerospace leaders to protect and grow the skills base for the future.
He said: “In a changing landscape in which aircraft are now rarely developed and constructed in one country, the opportunity – and the challenge – for the UK aerospace industry will be in ensuring it has the skills to continue developing its renowned expertise, as well as its well developed infrastructure and supply chain.
“I believe the UK retains a critical role in world’s aerospace sector but without the right skills and investment we face a daunting future. And, critically, this is not an issue that businesses in the sector will face in the future – it is happening now, with almost a third (29 per cent) of aerospace companies in the UK reporting skills gaps.
“Employers are struggling to attract young people with STEM skills into the industry and a third of high tech manufacturing firms have recruited from outside the UK due to a lack of suitably qualified people resident here. With Semta insight revealing that the aerospace sector needs to recruit 15,300 by 2016 to cover retirements or growth, businesses need to act now.”
This material is protected by copyright Ken Hurst 2011.