By yeowatzup from Katlenburg-Lindau, via Wikimedia Commons
A new Government scheme to keep the UK at the forefront of the global aerospace industry has recruited its first intake of students.
The sector is closely linked to additive manufacturing, with major industry players BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce and EADS investing heavily in research and development, as the advancement of the technology enables engineers to create ever-more complex parts that would have been unattainable by any other means of manufacturing.
This latest initiative from the Government, according to Business Minister Michael Fallon, saw 100 bursaries awarded to employees and graduates to study Masters-level degrees in aerospace engineering with 19 of these being awarded to women.
Mr Fallon - who made the announcement during a visit to Airbus in Broughton - said this will help the sector to develop the high-level skills it needs to compete globally. While at Airbus, the politician met local apprentices who are helping to manufacture the wings for the new A350 XWB fleet of aircraft, which will go into operation next year.
The UK aerospace industry together with the British Government have committed £3 million apiece over three years to help to recruit 500 talented people who want to make their way in the aerospace sector but require financial support to take their education to Masters level. The initiative covers the cost of tuition fees up to a maximum of £9,500.
Mr Fallon also noted that the Headquarters of the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) will be based at Cranfield Technology Park in the East of England, with a base at Martell House being operational from this December, housing a core team of 30.
He said: "The aerospace Masters programme is an excellent example of Government and industry working together to keep the UK competitive, as it will help us meet the urgent demand for engineers in this country.
"I am particularly pleased that 19 places have gone to women – well above the average for the sector. It is essential that the aerospace industry recruits from the widest possible talent pool."
As part of the Aerospace Growth Partnership, they will set the strategy for the ATI-funded research and technology programmes being carried out across the UK by industrial and academic partners. These programmes will be funded jointly with £2 billion over the next seven years thanks to Government and industry backing.
"The R&D projects funded under the programme will be carried out at a range of locations across the country so that the benefit our joint £2 billion investment with industry is spread across the breadth of the UK," the Minister added.
This announcement comes as the Technology Strategy Board published details of the open call for up to £25 million in Government funding Mr Fallon announced at the Paris Air Show in June. This cash will finance collaborative research and technology projects that support the delivery of the Aerospace Industrial Strategy.
It will be open to all research institutes and companies, including those in the aerospace supply chain, who will be invited to submit bids for a share of the fund. The £25 million will be match-funded by the winning businesses, creating up to £50 million in total investment. The call will be funded from £2 billion in joint Government and industry investment committed to supporting the ATI, announced in the aerospace industrial strategy in March of this year.