By Daniel Hunter

The aerospace industry in the South West was given a further boost today (Thursday) as Business Minister Michael Fallon confirmed that Airbus will shortly receive £1.4 million from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund.

The funding will help provide specific training to grow engineering capabilities in the UK, creating 200 new jobs at Airbus’s wing development and manufacturing facilities based at Filton, Bristol.

Speaking at Airbus, Business Minister Michael Fallon said:

“This important project demonstrates the Regional Growth Fund in action. The money is boosting engineering skills and apprenticeships in an important and valuable industry — for the south west and UK as a whole. There is a global competition for talent, innovation and success and this will help Airbus in Bristol maintain its world-leading status.

“There are some fantastic businesses in the South West and I would encourage them to consider applying for Round 4 of the Regional Growth Fund which is now open. We are looking for high-quality, shovel-ready projects so competition will be tough — the deadline is March 20 so get your applications in as soon as possible.”

The training programme will address the need for specialist engineering skills for the development of Airbus’s civil and military aircraft programmes and has attracted over £5 million in private sector investment. To date the programme has successfully recruited 172 new employees with the remainder due to be recruited by the summer.

The Business Minister confirmed the funding while on a visit to Airbus, to see the factory and their advanced centre for wing and landing gear design, testing and research.

Mark Stewart, Airbus’ General Manager and Human Resources Director said:

“Today’s announcement is very welcome both for Airbus and for Filton which is a jewel in the crown of aviation engineering. It clearly underlines the importance of the Filton site and shows that along with other investments such as the £70 million Airbus Aerospace Park we are continuing to invest in both people and infrastructure to ensure we stay at the leading edge of aerospace technology and remain ahead of our competitors.”

Earlier in the day, Michael Fallon also visited GKN — the global engineering and aerospace company — where he was given an overview of the assembly process and met GKN apprentices. This rounded up an aerospace and engineering themed tour of Bristol which showed the Government’s commitment to advanced manufacturing sectors — essential to the rebalancing of the economy.

The tour will also help the Government’s work with industry to develop a strategy for the aerospace sector so that the UK can continue to be a leading aerospace nation. This will support the sector in developing new technologies for future aircraft and to produce high-value products both faster and to higher standards.

Through the different themes of the industrial strategy the UK will be able to seize existing opportunities in each sector such as aerospace, energy, the information economy and education. This will help make Britain the best place in the world for manufacturers to invest, design, manufacture and export. Each sector strategy will be published in the coming weeks.

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