£10 million Supply Chains for the 21st Century Competitiveness and Growth scheme is matched by industry funding.

A new Industrial Strategy programme for aerospace industry SMEs has been launched by new Business and Industry Minister Andrew Stephenson.

The programme was launched during a visit by the minister to aerospace and defence supplier MEP in Aylesford, Kent on May 13.

The Supply Chains for the 21st Century (SC21) Competitiveness and Growth scheme was allocated £10 million Government funding, matched by industry, as part of the Aerospace Sector Deal published in December.

The programme, now launched, will support 80 UK aerospace supply chain companies over the next three years.

C21 will help participating companies raise productivity and will support the competitiveness of the entire UK aerospace sector. MEP was a participant in a successful pilot of the new programme.

Tackling UK productivity challenge

Business and Industry Minister Andrew Stephenson said: “British aerospace companies of all sizes have unrivalled expertise and capabilities in manufacturing advanced components that are in demand around the world. This programme will make sure the small and medium businesses in this sector can continue to be world leaders – delivering a crucial part of our modern Industrial Strategy.”

The chief executive of trade organisation ADS, Paul Everitt, said: “Improving UK productivity is a national challenge and Industrial Strategy programmes to boost the competitiveness of supply chain companies are making a vital difference. The SC21 Competitiveness & Growth supply chain productivity programme we are launching will help more UK aerospace companies to meet the challenge of global competition.

“This programme will strengthen the UK’s supply chain and ensure we continue to offer high value, long term career opportunities across the country. Improving productivity and competitiveness is the best way to combat the headwinds of Brexit uncertainty and make our economy more resilient and successful in the future.”

Following a diagnostic process, companies enrolled in the SC21 Competitiveness and Growth programme will take part in training to strengthen their leadership and management skills, enhance workforce capability and implement streamlined business processes.

A massive boost to aerospace and defence supply chains

The aerospace sector is growing globally to meet high demand for modern, technologically advanced, fuel-efficient aircraft and the industry is raising production every year to deliver on the order backlog of more than 14,000 commercial aircraft on international order books.

MEP specialises in moulding and machining for the aerospace and defence sectors. It has participated in SC21 for the last 12 years and has received six performance awards under the existing programme. MEP works with some of the world’s largest aerospace and defence companies.

MEP chief executive Phil Hart said: “The news that the funding is now confirmed to be able to fully deploy Competitiveness and Growth is recognition of the work that’s gone into the programme, a massive boost to the aerospace and defence supply chains and a fantastic opportunity that will support MEP in reaching the next level of manufacturing competitiveness.”

The UK’s Aerospace Industrial Strategy is built on a strong relationship between Government and industry through the Aerospace Growth Partnership (AGP), a strategic partnership established to secure the future of the UK’s aerospace sector for the next 20 years and beyond.

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