The sky’s the limit for Northern Ireland partnerships

PEYE ADS INVEST NI 002Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster today launched an innovative strategy to secure the future prosperity of the Northern Ireland aerospace, defence, security and space sectors.

The document entitled Northern Ireland Partnering for Growth outlines plans to more than double revenues from the aerospace, defence, security and space sectors in Northern Ireland to over £2billion per year. In doing so, it is hoped that these high-value sectors will increase direct employment from 8,000 to 12,000 in the next decade.

Speaking at the official launch in Parliament Buildings, Arlene Foster said: “Northern Ireland aerospace, defence, security and space companies not only make an important contribution to the local economy, but they also ensure the UK remains Europe’s number one aerospace manufacturer and second only to the US globally.

“The development of this strategy is the result of successful collaboration between industry and government to identify Northern Ireland’s core industrial strengths and develop a strategic plan to maximise competitive advantage, boost jobs and increase trade opportunities.

“I welcome the emphasis that is being placed on skills development, supply chain excellence and research & development, as well as the extension of global reach. I have confidence that we will continue to make a vital contribution to sustaining UK aerospace’s position at the forefront of technology development and I look forward to seeing strong growth in the coming years.”

The development of the strategy has been led by the Council of ADS Northern Ireland, the aerospace, defence, security and space trade organisation. It has been developed in close collaboration with Invest Northern Ireland, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment and the Department for Employment and Learning.

Also speaking at the launch Employment and Learning Minster Dr Stephen Farry said: “Improving the skills of our workforce, especially in STEM related subjects, is crucial if we are to boost productivity, increase employment levels and help grow our economy. My Department is currently taking forward initiatives to help the industry in a number of areas through the Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Services Working Group such as the development of the Higher Level Apprenticeship pilots and a CNC Machining Conversion Course. We continue to work with DETI and Invest NI to make sure businesses and individuals have access to the skills they need to help Northern Ireland compete in the global marketplace.”

David Beatty, Chairman of ADS Group in Northern Ireland commented: “Today is an important step towards making sure Northern Ireland stays ahead of the curve in these high value sectors. These industries account for 20% of our exports and with the right support we know that they will continue to bring benefits to our economy for many years to come. However, in an increasingly competitive global market, a strategic approach and a long term view are important to maximise opportunities. This partnership and resulting plan delivers that.”

Paul Everitt, Chief Executive of the ADS Group added: “Our sectors are large employers in Northern Ireland, making a significant contribution to the economy. Last week, new data released by ADS revealed the global aerospace market increased significantly in 2013, with expectations of sustained growth in the years ahead. Northern Ireland and the wider UK has an opportunity to share in the benefits of global growth and working together we can help create more high value jobs, rebalance the economy and boost our exports.”

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