A MAJOR conference on the future of the UK aerospace industry will examine the potential of the sector to deliver future economic growth – with a particular focus on the cluster of aerospace companies around Prestwick Airport.
Michael Moore, Secretary of State for Scotland, will talk about the UK Government’s ambitious strategy for aerospace, a £2 billion partnership with industry launched earlier this year, while industry leaders will take the opportunity to outline the major challenges and opportunities ahead.
The £2 billion aerospace partnership – described in the strategy Lifting Off: Implementing The Strategic Vision for UK Aerospace - aims to keep the UK at the forefront of world aerospace manufacturing. Mr Moore will explain how the strategy aims to secure large numbers of high-value UK jobs – and how industry might exploit rapid changes in technology to stay ahead of the global competition.
One of the key industry speakers is Scott McLarty, vice-president UK Operations for event sponsor, Spirit AeroSystems, while other leading companies including BAE Systems, UTC and Woodward will also represent the sector. Another major industry player, Belfast-based Bombardier, is represented by Director of Design Engineering and Technology Development Gavin Campbell, who will talk about a key plank of the new government-industry strategy, the Aerospace Technology Institute.
The conference will be held at the National Air Traffic Services (NATS) building at Prestwick and the site’s operations director, Alastair Muir, will speak about the next generation of innovation and development in air traffic services.
Professor Richard Brown of the University of Strathclyde’s Centre for Future Air-Space Transportation Technology will also look ahead to the exciting changes coming in the sector, while Murdo Morrison, editor of the highly-respected publication Flight International, will give his expert overview of the sector. Sooh Sweeney will discuss the importance of skills, with a focus on the Aerospace Engineering Training Centre at Ayr (soon to be Ayrshire) College.
The event will be chaired by business writer Ken Symon, who has a particular interest in aviation, and opened by the Provost of South Ayrshire, Councillor Helen Moonie, who will highlight the significance of the aerospace industry, which employs close to 10,000 people in the Prestwick area.
David Lee, of event organiser The Scotsman Conferences, said: “The aim of the conference is to highlight the significance of the aerospace sector in Scotland, which is often undervalued, and to look at how it might continue to prosper within the context of the new UK Aerospace Strategy – and as part of a major global industry. We will look at innovation, technology and investment as well as key areas like Research & Development, skills’ training and the important relationship between government and industry and how that can thrive.
“We are delighted that a major business like Spirit AeroSystems has agreed to sponsor the event and the opportunity to host the conference in NATS’ exceptional new building.”
The conference is part of a major event, Prestwick World Festival of Flight 2013, which also includes an air show, static displays, a film and book festival, drama and art exhibitions. Festival organiser Angela Wrapson said: “The Festival celebrates a century of aviation at Prestwick, linking in its great heritage with its enormous future potential. The conference is an important part of the festival, allowing government, industry, academia and other interested parties to map out a successful future for the sector in Scotland and the UK as part of the global aerospace industry.”
* A £5 donation from every conference ticket will be made to the Festival of Flight’s charity, the Prestwick branch of the Royal Air Forces Association.
* Link to conference page: http://www.scotsmanconferences.com/viewconference.aspx?id=35
Link to Festival of Flight website: http://www.worldfestivalofflight.com/
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