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£2.6 million boost for northwest aerospace industry

The North West Aerospace Alliance (NWAA) is poised to launch its largest ever assistance package for the region's aerospace sector thanks to a £2.6 million package from the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA).

The four-year programme ensures that the NWAA begins 2007 with its Aerospace Supply Chain Excellence Programme (ASCE), previously a smaller scale pilot initiative, poised to enter a new and more dynamic phase.

Support from the NWDA, by far the largest and most significant backing in the 12 year history of the Alliance, will ensure that the NWAA's can now achieve its aim to elevate Tier 2 aerospace companies—Small to Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) -- to "world-competitive" status in the supply chain.

The funding will support the introduction of aerospace industry 'mentors' to participating companies and will also help the NWAA continue its crucial work through its popular and well-supported supply chain workshops.

Further funding of £1.6 million to assist in the development of advanced skills and leadership within the aerospace sector is also being considered by the NWDA and a decision is expected in the near future.

Explains NWAA Executive Director Martin Wright: "We are extremely grateful for this backing, which is a major endorsement of the work we already have underway. It means we can now progress the Aerospace Supply Chain Excellence Programme and make a real difference both to individual companies and the North West aerospace sector as a whole.

"Significantly, the amount contributed by the NWDA will be matched by in-kind contributions from within the industry so this really is the shot in the arm we need to accelerate the programme and achieve results."

Mark Hughes, Executive Director of Enterprise, Innovation and Skills at the NWDA, said: "In order to build a world class aerospace sector in the Northwest it is vital that we continue to facilitate improvements in the aerospace supply chain. The Agency is pleased to invest in this project, which will help the NWAA continue to improve the competitiveness and productivity of our supply chain companies and further strengthen the region's position as a leading centre of excellence for the aerospace industry."

Five companies, Nelson-based PDS (CNC) Engineering Ltd, Hyde Group, based in East Manchester, Callender Aeropart from the RLC Group; Gardner Group of Burnley and John Huddleston Engineering, of Blackpool, are the first to "sign up" for the mentoring programme, which is supported by Airbus UK, BAE Systems and Rolls Royce plc. Each of the sponsoring companies has committed to supplying industry experts to assist NWAA member companies participating in the programme.

ASCE Programme Director Dr David Bailey commented: "There is great enthusiasm for making significant improvements to the performance of the North West aerospace industry and we expect many more companies joining the programme over the coming year."

Facts & Figures

Target of 45 world-competitive companies over four years

23 mentors supplied by Airbus, BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce plc

£2.6 million of new NWDA funding to support the programme

NWAA also working closely with The Manufacturing Institute, Excellence North West and ATTG Ltd to deliver the programme

Press release issued by North West Aerospace Alliance on January 4, 2007


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