Allan Cook CBE, chairman of engineering design group Atkins, is to be appointed chairman of employer-led Sector Skills Council Semta.
Cook is a chartered engineer with more than 30 years global experience in the automotive, aerospace and defence industries. Prior to Atkins, Allan was chief executive of Cobham PLC, and previously held senior positions with GEC-Marconi, BAE Systems and Hughes Electronics. He was awarded a CBE in 2008.
At Semta’s May board meeting, Cook will take over from Sir Alan Jones of Toyota who has been chairman from 2006. He said: “I have had a long and productive association with Semta in my role as chair of the National Skills Academy for Manufacturing. Science, engineering and manufacturing form the backbone of the UK economy so we need well educated, skilled people who have been suitably trained and are capable of working with today’s technology as well as with the new and emerging technologies. We need a pipeline of young talent with theoretical and practical skills to step into the gap created by those employees retiring from industry.”
Semta’s 2010 UK Skills Report identifies the need for almost 30,000 new highly-skilled scientists and engineers a year between now and 2016. Semta has therefore launched a simplified skills service to improve access to quality training and funding. Businesses working with Semta’s National Skills Academy for Manufacturing have seen, on average, a 6:1 ratio of return on their investment in skills, helping many of them survive the downturn.
Ian Godden, chairman of A|D|S, said: “Allan’s appointment is excellent news. As a former President of one of our predecessor organisations, the Society of British Aerospace Companies, and his long-term involvement with the National Skills Academy for Manufacturing, Allan is an ideal Chairman for SEMTA. The Aerospace, Defence, Security and Space industries that A|D|S represents are pleased to hear of his appointment and look forward to continuing to work with him and Semta in the future.”