Group to redeploy skilled workers affected by SDSR

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An industry-led group has been created to retain and redeploy skilled workers who lose their jobs as a result of the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR).

Announced by business secretary Vince Cable, the Skills and Jobs Retention Group will be chaired by Allan Cook, the current chairman of SEMTA and the former chief executive officer of Cobham.

According to a statement, the group’s remit will be to explore how skilled workers can be retained in the advanced manufacturing sector, by working with industry to redeploy affected employees to other sectors such as civil aerospace, automotive, energy and marine.

The SDSR, published on Tuesday, included decisions that will have industrial implications, including a 40 per cent cut in main battle tanks, reducing the RAF’s Tornado fleet and scrapping the Harrier fleet entirely.

‘The aerospace and defence industry is a major employer in the UK, providing high-value employment and supporting a range of skills across science, engineering, production, service, training and finance,’ said Cook.

‘The UK cannot compete internationally without highly skilled workers developing engineering solutions and building new products, so it is vital for future economic growth that we do all that we can to retain these skills within the advanced engineering and manufacturing sectors.’

The group will be comprised of a small team of senior industry figures with experience in defence and advanced engineering and manufacturing, and will be supported by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.

It will provide a forum for companies across UK manufacturing and engineering to work together to make the most of the skills that may become available for redeployment.