Aerospace Response Group minutes: 17 August 2020

Minutes of the meeting of the Aerospace Response Group, held on 17 August 2020.

Attendees and apologies

Scottish Government/Scottish Enterprise/Skills Development Scotland

  • Jamie Hepburn MSP, Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills
  • Richard Rollison, Deputy Director, SG
  • David Smith, Scottish Enterprise
  • Linda Hanna, Scottish Enterprise
  • Jim Hannigan, NMIS-MSA , SDS
  • Billy Scott, Sector Lead, Engineering, SDS


  • GE Caledonian, Scott Watters, Finance Director
  • Woodward, Andy Marshall, Site Manager
  • Wyman Gordon, Anthony Dimmer, Managing Director
  • Belcan, Steve Kilpatrick, Managing Director
  • Glenalmond Group, Jamie Mincher, Managing Director
  • Collins Aerospace, Andy Hodge, General Manager
  • Chevron, Neil Morris, Managing Director
  • SpiritAero, Nicola Spence

Trade associations

  • Scottish Engineering, Paul Sheerin, Chief Executive Officer
  • ADS Scotland, Warrick Malcolm, Director ADS Scotland
  • Stuart Gallacher, Chair, ADS Scotland

Trades unions

  • Unite, Kenny Jordan
  • GMB, Alan Ritchie

Local Government

  • South Ayrshire Council, Theo Leijser, Service Lead for Economy and Regeneration
  • Strathclyde University, Sarah Jardine


It was noted that several members of the group were on leave. Apologies had been received from:

  • Scot MacQueen
  • Paul McDonagh
  • Sandra Black
  • Gordon McGuiness
  • Alasdair Morrison
  • Nigel Amphlett
  • Chris McLean

Items and actions

Welcome, opening remarks, recap of last meeting – Jamie Hepburn MSP, Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills

The Minister thanked everyone for coming to the 5th meeting of the Aerospace Response Group and welcomed the addition of Boeing to the Group. The Minister raised to the attention of the Group the recent publication of the revised Fair Work statement published on the 19th July and signed by the Institute of Directors, Scottish Council for Development and Industry, COSLA, SCVO, the STUC as well as the Scottish Government. 

Pan – UK level activity

The Minister has continued to engage with Minister Zahawi including pressing the case for UK Government representation on ARG. 

An invitation has been extended to the Scotland Office to join the sub-group and they will join sub-group meetings going forward.

An meeting had been held with the First Minister and Pat Rafferty of Unite, where they discussed the challenges faced by the sector and activities that could provide support ahead of any recovery.

A survey has been developed which will be sent out to the civil aerospace sector in Scotland to gather further information. The Minister encouraged the group members to participate in the survey as it  will help to further inform the ARG’s responsibilities and direction. 

People and skills

The theme leads highlighted the recent announcement of £10 million by SG to support apprentices. Skills Development Scotland released Q1 statistics for uptake on apprenticeships and it was highlighted that registrations were one tenth that of Q1 2019. The sub-group will be looking closely at results for Q2 when they are released.

The sub-group is undertaking a review of the apprenticeship landscape to ensure it is well understood including the roles, responsibilities and sources of funding. There have been good discussions on the wider ambition and the provision of apprenticeship skills for engineering in Scotland

A skills and employee mapping exercise was highlighted to the sub-group last week with pilot activity underway through companies situated at Prestwick. The sub-group identified gaps in succession planning and skills handover, noting that both are critical business processes that were particularly affected by the speed of the onset of COVID. This is being further explored with the further education sector and particularly Ayrshire College to identify mechanisms to plug these gaps in the future.

R and D and innovation activity

The theme leads are seeking to support Scottish companies to secure a greater proportion of funding from UK programmes. To aid this, a mapping exercise is being undertaken detailing what is available and how best to access it.

The sub-group are also in the process of creating a horizon scanning map for Scottish supply chain companies to identify what opportunities there are for further technology developments and R and D. A number of virtual conferences will be organised, incorporating Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) and Scottish supply chain companies. The focus is on key developments happening right now in the sector such as the Airbus Wing of Tomorrow programme. These discussions will also highlight future OEM work programmes to potential lower tier Scottish suppliers and promote greater visibility of the supply chain in Scotland.

Discussions are ongoing for an ARG charter regarding reshoring and R&D. The focus of this will be ‘Making it in Scotland’. This will endeavour to get different companies and government bodies focused on manufacturing in Scotland and making Scotland an attractive place to locate their business. 

The sub-group are looking at how they can create metrics to measure and ultimately demonstrate success in the levels of R and D investment by Scottish companies.

The sub-group are continuing to consider potential Lifeboat Projects that offer immediate opportunities and to assess what, if any, support may be required.

It was highlighted that the ATI led FlyZero initiative to help UK aerospace develop a zero-carbon emission aircraft by 2030 is seeking to take on 25 full time secondees from industry and academia in the near future, with a further 80 secondees following later. The Minister highlighted the need for the sector in Scotland to fully engage with the FlyZero programme.


  • David Smith to share data on the sectors use of Scottish R and D funds especially ATI

Stronger supply chains

Theme leads shared progress on the work to establish an accurate map of the supply chain in Scotland and to increase participation in continuous improvement programmes such as Sharing in Growth. The sub-group are also keen to establish a “best practice” knowledge bank with case studies, as a resource for Scottish businesses to assist with promotional campaigns. This sub-group are similarly considering the development of a charter based upon the Aerospace Growth Partnership Competitiveness Charter, and it was agreed to combine the respective charters into a single overarching charter for the ARG. 


  • ARG members to ensure that they are engaging with account managers and feeding intelligence into the Theme four sub-group
  • ARG members to make Warrick Malcolm aware of other supply chain support initiatives not covered by the sub-group

Market opportunities and diversifications

Theme leads highlighted that the sub-group were continuing to take forward the five work streams as follows. 

Decommissioning hub – Theo Leijser

Aircraft decommissioning presents a long term opportunity for skills development and job creation as well as having the potential to make a significant contribution towards the circular economy. The commercial business case is still to be finalised by a commercial consortium currently in formation. Engagement with Prestwick Airport is underway to secure use of the site and necessary infrastructure 

Defence and space diversification – Warrick Malcolm

Work will commence on using supply chain mapping information to identify and prioritise opportunities that are time limited. There have been 30 high level opportunities identified and these will now be prioritised.

Diversification energy – David Leven

Colleagues within the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult have been identified and conversations are underway. The next key piece of activity is to capture the requirements of the renewable energy sector and match those to the capabilities of the aerospace sector. 

Reshoring – Nicola Spence and Jamie Mincher 

The sub-group have bolstered their level of industry participation and are close to completing their identification of near-term projects that can be tabled before the main ARG for consideration. The team have also created a SWOT analysis for Scottish supply chain companies, based on the COVID disruption and will also include a reshoring virtual conference as part of the ask from OEM’s.

Sustainable aviation – Chris McLean

SE and SG are holding discussions with Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE) to link opportunities that are available to aerospace businesses.


The Minister noted that he felt it sensible to continue engaging with Minister Zahawi to provide regular updates on the activity of the group. 

Paul Sheerin suggested that following five main ARG meetings, the point had come for the theme leads to gather and take stock on progress thus far, any areas of overlapping activity and where work themes might work more effectively in tandem.

Date of next meeting

The next meeting is scheduled for 14.30-16.00 Monday 31st August.

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