Aerospace talent pool receives lift with new MSc bursaries

Posted on 15 Aug 2013 by Tim Brown

A new scheme to keep the UK at the forefront of the global aerospace industry has recruited its first intake of students, Business Minister Michael Fallon announced this week.

One hundred bursaries have been awarded to employees and graduates to study Masters (MSc) level degrees in aerospace engineering – with nineteen going to women. This will help the sector develop the high-level skills it needs to compete globally.

Industry and government have each committed £3m over three years as a part of the Aerospace MSC Bursary Award scheme to

help recruit 500 talented people who want to build careers in aerospace, but need financial backing to study at Masters level. The scheme will cover the cost of tuition fees up to a maximum of £9,500.

The Minister also announced that the Headquarters of the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) will be based at Cranfield Technology Park in the east of England.

The headquarters at Martell House will be operational from December, and house a core team of around thirty. As part of the Aerospace Growth Partnership, they will set the strategy for the ATI-funded research and technology programmes being carried out across the country by industrial and academic partners. These programmes will be jointly funded with £2bn over seven years from government and industry.

Mr Fallon made the announcements during a visit to Airbus in Broughton where he met local apprentices who are helping to manufacture the wings for the new A350 XWB fleet of aircraft, which will go into operation from 2014.

“The aerospace Masters programme is an excellent example of government and industry working together to keep the UK competitive as it will help us meet the urgent demand for engineers in this country,” said Business Minister Michael Fallon.

“I am particularly pleased that 19 places have gone to women – well above the average for the sector. It is essential that the aerospace industry recruits from the widest possible talent pool.

“Our decision to base the Aerospace Technology Institute at Cranfield ensures it can operate with the independence necessary to work with partners from right across industry and academia. It is well situated to serve the needs of the whole UK aerospace sector.

Mark Stewart, Airbus in the UK General Manager and Human Resources Director said that although the UK has the second largest aerospace industry in the world, it faced fierce competition from across the world.

“As a global company we understand that only by having a diverse workforce can we access the best talent and skills and that’s why we are completely committed to advancing the role of women in engineering so Airbus was happy to be one of the key Company Sponsors of the MSc Scheme,” said Mr Stewart.

The Minister’s visit came as the Technology Strategy Board published further details of the open call for up to £25 million of government funding he announced at the Paris Air Show in June. This investment will finance collaborative research and technology projects that support the delivery of the Aerospace Industrial Strategy.

It will be open to all companies and research institutes, including those in the aerospace supply chain who will be invited to submit bids for a share of the fund. The £25 million will be match funded by the winning businesses, creating up to £50 million of total investment.

The call will be funded from £2 billion of joint government and industry investment committed to support the ATI, announced in the aerospace industrial strategy in March.