Midlands aerospace cluster shrugs off Brexit worries

Midlands aerospace cluster shrugs off Brexit worries

A cluster of aerospace firms in Coventry and Warwickshire have landed sky-high levels of turnover despite economic uncertainty over the past year.

Almost £65m turnover has been collectively generated in the past year by the Coventry and Warwickshire Aerospace Forum (CWAF) – an increase of 11% year-on-year, creating 17 new positions for apprentices and interns.

CWAF is a group of 14 small to medium sized engineering and manufacturing businesses in the aerospace sector that work together to support the industry.

This includes providing world class improvements on manufacturing processes in an ever-changing climate to working with schools and universities to bring through aerospace’s next generation of workers.

Big contract wins driving the turnover include manufacturer Arrowsmith securing six-figure deals to supply Rolls Royce with aerospace engine components.

Coventry-based CWAF member and metal finishing firm Acton Finishing has also opened a new engineering arm in Malaysia, while laser and water jet cutting company Precision Laser Processing has seen demand increase having acquired one of the largest water jet cutters in Europe.

Jason Aldridge, CWAF chairman and managing director of Arrowsmith, said: “This has been one of the forum’s most successful years despite the turbulent uncertainty of Brexit.

“The beauty of our forum is that we aren’t competitors, we all bring something unique to the table which provides an attractive network for larger aerospace companies seeking an established and accredited aerospace supply chain.

“We’re acutely aware that the industry as a whole needs to be bringing through the next generation of engineers to make sure our industry remains as strong as ever, so we’re also delighted to have created 17 openings for students.

“We have also welcomed two new members to the forum this year – aircraft systems designers and manufacturers Tenencia Aerospace Design and maintenance overhaul firm CFS Aero - to further add to our expertise.

“Adding knowledge and capability is going to be crucial for the future as aircraft capabilities develop, especially as larger aerospace companies keep tabs on the development of the new supersonic jet.”

Cllr Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for jobs and regeneration said, “This forum is really important and it’s achieved lots of success over the last year.

"The aerospace sector is strong in Coventry and I’m delighted that we could secure European funding to support the growth of the group.

“Many of the businesses involved support highly skilled, well paid jobs for local people and togher they can bid for work that they might not be able to alone.

"I wish the forum every success for the year ahead.”