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NWDA pledges to back Aerospace Skills Academy study

THE Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) is to give its backing to a feasibility study which will scope out the potential for an Aerospace Skills Academy in the region.

The study, aimed at addressing the need for specialist high-tech skills in the aerospace sector, will be co-ordinated by the North West Aerospace Alliance (NWAA), which is already conducting a pioneering Aerospace Supply Chain Development programme on behalf of the NWDA.

Speaking at Alliance's first aerospace supply chain summit held at the Reebok Stadium, Bolton, keynote speaker NWDA Chief Executive Steven Broomhead, revealed that the agency would back the feasibility to explore the concept for an Aerospace Skills Academy

He said that a dedicated skills training facility for the aerospace sector could be the way forward in addressing the future needs of the industry.

Mr Broomhead said the aerospace sector was bearing up well despite concerns over the global economy, but warned that there was a danger of "talking ourselves into recession".

"We have a really good tale to tell and we should be telling that tale more strongly and stop talking about credit crunches and economic slowdown, or we are in danger of talking ourselves into it," he told around 150 delegates at the conference, which was organised to chart the progress of the NWAA's £8 million plus Aerospace Supply Chain Excellence Programme, which is jointly funded by NWDA and the industry.

The NWDA is also supporting the industry by backing research and development work in advanced technologies including the use of lasers and composites in manufacturing.

Added Mr Broomhead: "We are very committed as a development agency to this whole area of sustaining a world competitive aerospace industry. That is where we want to be and that is where we will continue to offer our support."

The day-long conference heard that the NWAA is now half way towards its target or elevating 45 North West companies to world-competitive status. It hopes to extend the current four-year programme with a second stage that will ensure that companies maintain their competitive edge and continue to compete in global markets.

The day's events also included updates on the Typhoon fighter programme and a forum featuring senior aerospace industry figures.

Press release issued by North West Aerospace Alliance on May 30, 2008


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