A new Industrial Strategy programme for aerospace industry SMEs was launched today, as new Business and Industry Minister Andrew Stephenson visited aerospace and defence supplier MEP in Aylesford, Kent.
The Supply Chains for the 21st Century (SC21) Competitiveness and Growth scheme was allocated £10m Government funding, matched by industry, as part of the Aerospace Sector Deal published in December. The programme is now launched and will support 80 UK aerospace supply chain companies during the next three years.
An evolution of the established SC21 programme, the new Industrial Strategy scheme will help participating companies to raise their productivity, supporting the competitiveness of the whole UK aerospace sector. MEP participated in a successful pilot of the new programme.
Business and Industry Minister Andrew Stephenson said:
“British aerospace companies of all sizes have unrivalled expertise and capabilities in manufacturing advanced components that are in demand around the world.
“This programme will make sure the small and medium businesses in this sector can continue to be world leaders – delivering a crucial part of our modern Industrial Strategy.”
ADS Chief Executive Paul Everitt said:
“Improving UK productivity is a national challenge and Industrial Strategy programmes to boost the competitiveness of supply chain companies are making a vital difference.
“The SC21 Competitiveness & Growth supply chain productivity programme we are launching today will help more UK aerospace companies to meet the challenge of global competition.
“This programme will strengthen the UK’s supply chain and ensure we continue to offer high value, long term career opportunities across the country.
“Improving productivity and competitiveness is the best way to combat the headwinds of Brexit uncertainty and make our economy more resilient and successful in the future.”
Following a diagnostic process, companies enrolled in the SC21 Competitiveness and Growth programme will take part in training to strengthen leadership and management skills, enhance workforce capability and implement streamlined business processes.
The aerospace sector is growing globally to meet high demand for modern, technologically advance and fuel efficient aircraft, and the industry is raising production every year to deliver on the order backlog of more than 14,000 commercial aircraft on international order books.
MEP is an award-winning SME manufacturing business that specialises in moulding and machining for the aerospace and defence sectors. It has received six performance awards under the existing SC21 programme and works with some of the world’s largest aerospace and defence companies.
MEP Chief Executive Phil Hart said:
“After 12 years of participation and of supporting the development of the SC21 programme, it was exciting and rewarding that MEP was able to participate in the pilot of SC21 Competitiveness & Growth.
“We know from personal experience the transformation that embracing SC21 gives to aerospace and defence SMEs and I’m delighted to welcome members of Government, BEIS and ADS to our facility today.
“The news that the funding is now confirmed to be able to fully deploy Competitiveness and Growth is recognition of the work that’s gone into the programme, a massive boost to the aerospace and defence supply chains and a fantastic opportunity that will support MEP in reaching the next level of manufacturing competitiveness.”
The UK’s Aerospace Industrial Strategy is built on a strong relationship between Government and industry through the Aerospace Growth Partnership (AGP), a strategic partnership established to secure the future of the UK’s aerospace sector for the next 20 years and beyond.