Publication - Minutes

Aerospace Response Group minutes: 15 March 2021

Published: 22 Mar 2021
Date of meeting: 15 Mar 2021

Minutes of the meeting of the Aerospace Response Group, held on 15 March 2021.

22 Mar 2021
Aerospace Response Group minutes: 15 March 2021

Attendees and apologies

Scottish Government and agencies:

  • Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, Jamie Hepburn MSP
  • Scottish Government, Scott McClelland
  • Scottish Enterprise, David Leven
  • Scottish Enterprise, Chris McLean
  • Skills Development Scotland (SDS), Gordon McGuinness


  • Belcan, Steve Kilpatrick
  • Glenalmond Group, Jamie Mincher
  • Standard Aero, Nigel Amphlett
  • Boeing, Richard Mills
  • Woodward, Andy Marshall

Trade associations:

  • ADS Scotland, Warrick Malcolm
  • ADS Scotland, Stuart Gallacher
  • Scottish Engineering, Paul Sheerin

Trade unions:

  • GMB, Alan Ritchie


  • University of Strathclyde, Matt Maynard

Local government:

  • South Ayrshire Council, Theo Leijser

Industry champions:

  • SpiritAerosystems, Athena Wu
  • Newtonaero, Sean McGovern
  • Skylands Aviation, Michael Brown
  • University of Strathclyde, David Butler


  • Anthony Dimmer (Wyman Gordon)
  • Andy Hodge (Collins)
  • Neil Smith (Chevron)
  • Scott McQueen (PCS)
  • Sarah Jardine (University of Strathclyde)
  • Gordon Hutcheson (Rolls-Royce)
  • David Avery (Prospect)
  • Billy Scott (SDS)
  • Jim Hannigan (SDS)
  • Nicola Spence (Spirit AeroSystems)
  • Alasdair Morrison (Renfrewshire Council)

Items and actions

Welcome, opening remarks – Jamie Hepburn MSP, Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills

The Minister welcomed members to the eighth ARG meeting and thanked them for their continued contributions. 

The Minister briefed the Group on his engagement with UK Government and reflected upon the welcomed extension to the Furlough scheme through the Budget but noted his disappointment that further support for the recapitalisation of the aerospace sector and supply chains was not included. The Minister updated on his continued efforts to increase the participation of the sector in Scotland within UK programmes highlighting his recent meeting with Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) CEO and FlyZero Programme Director and directed members towards the dedicated event scheduled for 16th March. 

The Minister informed the Group of a number of activities across the sector including the agreed Memorandum of Understanding between Unite and Rolls-Royce, and that a preferred bidder had been identified in the sale of Glasgow Prestwick Airport. 

Finally the Minister reflected upon the progress of the COVID vaccination roll-out acknowledging that challenges remain for the sector and noted that the UK Global Travel Taskforce are expected to publish their recommendations to support the return to global travel on 12th April.  

Update of activity from ARG Delivery Board

The Delivery Board provided a brief update on key delivery activities:

Industry champions     

Sustainable aviation:

The Group was updated on the work undertaken including the establishment of a Team Scotland for Sustainable Aviation group bringing together like-minded individuals and organisations to facilitate the mapping of the technical coverage, strengths and gaps within the wider ecosystem. 

Aircraft decommissioning:

The Group was updated on the work undertaken including process mapping, the positioning of Scotland as a sustainable decommissioning proposition and the evolution of the market place with a gap in capacity for decommissioning that is attracting some interest from airlines as they look to repurpose maintenance staff. The Group was updated on the technology and skills considerations with clear links to the skills work being taken forward by National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS) through the National Training Transition Fund (NTTF).

Diversification into defence and space:

The Group was updated on the work undertaken including extensive engagement across industry and academia to identify opportunities and strengthen relationships across the respective sectors. A review was undertaken into the funding and continuous improvement landscape with recommendations designed to support SME navigation and increased competitiveness.

Virtual conferences

The Group were updated upon the delivery of a number of virtual conference events with major industry leaders and programmes including Airbus, Boeing, Team Tempest and Spirit that were extremely well attended by the sector. 


The Group were updated upon the delivery of skills activity utilising NTTF funding to support a number of areas including activity through NMIS in relation to aircraft decommissioning and electrification and, through Scottish Enterprise (SE), the provision of 8 projects totalling £600k to companies to support the reskilling and upskilling of workforces. Further activity in partnership between SE and Renfrewshire Council will take place to deliver a Grey Matters pilot programme in the Spring. 

Future of ARG

The Minister reflected upon the successes of the Group in the delivery of its primary purpose. This was to bring together a cross representation of the sector to help mitigate and manage the significant impact of the COVID pandemic and the cautious sense of optimism with the roll-out of the vaccine and the resilience and adaptability of industry to cope with the challenges placed in front of it. 

The Minister indicated that following feedback from the sector, now was perhaps an appropriate time for the Group to transition toward an industry-led structure similar to other sectors. Members echoed the Ministers desire to maintain the strong relationships developed through the Group. 

ADS Scotland proposed to utilise their existing forum to form the basis of any future activity and committed to ensuring that representation could continue from across the sector including non-members, trade bodies, trade unions and the public sector.

The Minister reiterated that the Group should determine its future direction and committed to writing to members in order to agree the approach. 


  • Minister to write to ARG members seeking their preference on the future of the Group

Summary of discussion and next steps

The Minister thanked all ARG members for their efforts and contribution throughout the delivery of the Group and noted particularly the contributions of the Industry Champions and ADS Scotland.