22 Mar 2011

New deal to boost high-tech skills

Semta and ADS get active on industry defence skills

Semta, the sector skills council for science, engineering and manufacturing technologies, has formed a strategic partnership agreement with A|D|S, the aerospace, defence and security trade organisation.

“Semta’s job is to make identifying and tackling skills shortages easier for employers, stakeholders and government.” Philip Whiteman, Chief Executive of Semta, said.

The plan is enhance collaboration between the two groups – helping to match skilled workers with highly skilled engineering and defence work.

The move is in response to feedback from space and security companies in the UK, who employ 500,000 people across the country.

Given the UK defence and aerospace industries role as key national economic players (second only the US globally) and the fact they generate £60 billion a year – this is certainly a step in the right direction for the future of defence business.

‘Jewels in the crown’

“Aerospace, defence, security and space are jewels in the crown of UK high-tech manufacturing and services. We are amongst the world leaders in these sectors thanks to the highly-skilled and talented workforce in this country. We survived the devastation of the recessions of the 1980s and 1990s and we have done so again.” Ian Godden, Chairman of A|D|S, said.

Peter Rogers, President of A|D|S and Chief Executive of Babcock International Group PLC said: “Consistently improving productivity and competitiveness in advanced manufacturing and engineering will be crucial to the continued growth of the UK economy.”

However the road to recession recovery is never easy and Mr Godden says another important factor is continuing to inspire young people and invest in the skills provision for them.

The latest research (NESS 2009 – England only) shows 7% of aerospace companies are reporting hard-to-fill vacancies which is double that experienced across all sectors, most of these are related to skills shortages In addition, 29 per cent of aerospace companies reported skills gaps (19% across other sectors), primarily at a managerial, professional and craft level.

ADS and Semta will work together via joint leadership – bringing industry voices to government decisions.

The partnership will also see Semta and A|D|S work together to secure the support of national and regional stakeholders.

Could you benefit from the partnership? Share your thoughts with us.