New deal for aero skills

Posted on 2 Mar 2011 by The Manufacturer

Semta and A|D|S have teamed up to tackle skills gaps in aerospace and defence which are limiting competitive growth and threatening the maintenance of market leadership.

Semta, the sector skills council for science, engineering and manufacturing technologies, today announced that a new agreement for strategic partnership has been struck with A|D|S, the trade organisation responsible for advancing UK aerospace, defence and security industries.

A collaborative enterprise aiming to simplify the provision of industry skills, the partnership will align Semta’s influence with that of A|D|S in order to achieve practical action on employer feedback. Following today’s unveiling of the Semta- A|D|S partnership Philip Whiteman, chief executive of Semta, said: “Semta’s job is to make identifying and tackling skills shortages easier for employers, stakeholders and government. In partnering with A|D|S, we will strengthen our stakeholder and employer relationships, ultimately ensuring we are positioned to best support the skills and development needs of the sector.”

The UK’s aerospace and defence industries are key players in world markets and major contributors to the UK economy. They are number one in Europe, second only to the US globally and together with security and space employ over 500,000 people across the UK in highly-skilled and long term jobs, generating over £60bn per year to the economy. Furthermore aerospace employees alone contribute the UK’s 108,000 aerospace employees produce an average of £76,000 Gross Value Added (GVA) per capita, compared to a UK average of just £35,000.

This said, the potential of the aerospace and defence industries to contribute even higher rates of productivity and growth to the UK economy is being help back by an unusually high level of key skills gaps. In aerospace, 29% of companies identify significant strategic skills gaps within their organisation compared to 19% across all other sectors. These gaps are primarily identified at managerial, professional and craft levels. In addition, the number of vacancies classified as ‘hard to fill’ by aerospace and defence employers is 7%, around double the national average.

Acknowledging this challenge but exhibiting confidence in the resilience of the aerospace and defence sectors in the UK Ian Godden, Chairman of A|D|S, said: “Aerospace, defence, security and space are jewels in the crown of UK high-tech manufacturing and services. We survived the devastation of the recessions of the 1980s and 1990s and we have done so again. However, to maintain this position of leadership we must continue to inspire young people and invest in skills provision for them. This is why A|D|S is delighted to be working with Semta…It is also good to be working with Semta chairman Allan Cook again. As a former President of the Society of British Aerospace Companies – an A|D|S predecessor organisation – Allan was, and remains, a powerful advocate for skills within our industries.”

The agreement between Semta and A|D|S hopes to maximise the effectiveness of the two organisations and amplify their ability to voice industry skills concerns to government. The administration of this advisory and lobbying voice will be managed via a joint Defence Sector Strategy Group (ADSSG) with leadership from both organisations. Both national and regional stakeholder interests will be represented by this body.