Aerospace support

West Midlands aerospace and defence industries have received a major boost thanks to the launch of a new support package.

The £1.5m World Class Supply Chains Initiative (SCI), which is being funded by regional development agency Advantage West Midlands and delivered by the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) in partnership with the Midlands Aerospace Alliance, will provide support to more than 90 firms.

With individual grants of up to £20,000 available, businesses in the region are being urged to sign up to the scheme and make sure they benefit from a SCI that improves performance, reduces costs, encourages innovation and will increasingly play a major role in attracting new orders.

Jim Coyle, aerospace cluster manager at Advantage West Midlands, said: ‘The £1.5m investment in the West Midlands is currently the biggest regional investment being made in the UK to bring the benefits of SC21 – including the crucial expertise of the major industry leaders – to local manufacturers.

‘This reflects the strength of the cluster and in particular the importance placed on helping small and medium-sized firms to benefit.’

SC21 is the single, co-ordinated industrial change programme for the UK aerospace and defence industries and has been established to accelerate national competitiveness.

It is recognised by the Ministry of Defence and all 16 of the UK aerospace and defence primes such as Goodrich, Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems, as a framework for excellence.

Cliff Johnson from the MAS, said: ”Once a firm has made the commitment, the MAS will send out an experienced adviser to complete a business audit, which will tell them where they are now and what they need to do to secure SC21 support.

‘The funding then allows us to bring in specialist consultants from either Industry Forum or TEC, who will work hand-in-hand with the business on supply chain development and performance and quality.’

Companies interested in taking part in the SC21 initiative should contact MAS-WM on 0845 245 0845.