The West Midlands has been selected as the base for a national programme to help maintain the UK’s position in the aerospace market.
Supporting the aims of the National Aerospace Technology Programme, the £40m project will help innovate technologies for new products and manufacturing processes.
The Coventry-based programme is expected to create or retain 1200 jobs.
More than 30 businesses have already applied for a share of the funding available to help develop future technological inventions.
Industry experts based at the University of Warwick Science Park’s Business Innovation Centre will work alongside a team in each of the UK’s regional aerospace alliances in delivering 100 new technologies to this valuable sector.
Dave Dawson, programme director, said: “The aim of the programme is to aid innovation in the UK aerospace sector in order to allow us to produce new technologies at a greater rate than our competitors.”
The programme has attracted big-name sponsors with Rolls Royce, Airbus, Bombardier, Spirit Aerosystems, GKN and AgustaWestland putting their names to the scheme.
Penny Robb, centre manager at the University of Warwick Science Park’s Business Innovation Centre in Binley, said: “This is a fantastic initiative designed to encourage greater innovation in a huge industry.”
Meanwhile, in further positive news from the West Midlands, business activity in the private sector economy remained strong during January, according to a new study.
The Business Activity Index – which measures the combined output of the region’s manufacturing and service sectors – scored 60.9 in January, down from 61.7 in the previous month but still comfortably above the long-term survey average of 53.0.
The rate of job creation in the area remained solid throughout January, though it was slower than the UK average.
Andy Youngman, area director SME Banking in Birmingham, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “The West Midlands continued its buoyant growth momentum at the start of 2014, albeit easing slightly from the record seen in December.
“With the manufacturing and service sectors both delivering strong performances, backed by robust inflows of new business, the region looks well set to continue to expand strongly in coming months. Companies were sufficiently optimistic to add further to staffing levels in the latest survey period, extending the current upturn in employment to 13 months.”
Author: Dan Butler