Aerospace Response Group minutes: 3 August 2020

Minutes of the meeting of the Aerospace Response Group, held on 3 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
  • Jim Hannigan, NMIS-MSA , SDS
  • Gordon McGuinness, Director, Industry and Enterprise, 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
  • Standard Aero, Nigel Amphlett Operations Manager
  • Glenalmond Group, Jamie Mincher, Managing Director
  • Collins Aerospace, Andy Hodge, General Manager
  • Chevron, Neil Morris, Managing Director

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


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

  • Nicola Spence
  • Sandra Black
  • Alasdair Morrison
  • Scot MacQueen
  • Sarah Jardine
  • Matt Maynard
  • Linda Hanna
  • David Avery
  • David Leven

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 together for these meetings and for participation in the different work streams 

It was noted that there is now a dedicated page on the Scottish Government website, which provides details of the Group, including its remit and membership, and that the intention was to publish notes of each meeting.

Pan – UK level activity

The Minister has written again to Minister Zahawi in UK Government (UKG) to provide an update on the activity of the Group and to continue to seek UKG participation. The letter again called for an acceleration of Growth Deal funding and made clear that Scotland is not receiving a share of R&D investments through UK programmes such as ATI that is representative of the sector in Scotland and its contribution to the industry at UK level.

The Minister highlighted that in the most recent Economy Ministers Quad call (30th July) there was a deep-dive discussion on aerospace in which the shared priorities of Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland were again impressed upon UKG. The Minister, along with Pat Rafferty and Kenny Jordan from Unite took part in a call with the First Minister (29th July) to discuss the challenges facing the aerospace sector. The First Minister offered to add her support in pressing UKG to establish a UK Aerospace Taskforce. The Minister is engaging with the other devolved administrations to collectively write to UKG in conjunction with Unite to press the case.  

People and skills

The sub-group met for a third time and is now progressing seven themes: 

  • job loss mitigation
  • optimising support for employees who leave the sector
  • skill enhancements
  • skill preservations
  • apprenticeship commitments
  • skills for employee mapping
  • sector and career future prospects

The sub-group is exploring a mechanism for sharing a strategic resourcing picture across companies to enable a better matching and utilisation of skills and resources. Further background work is being undertaken on employment legislation and how we can facilitate more cross skilling. 

It was noted that SDS and SG were working together to ensure continued support for apprentices and the  ’Adopt an Apprentice’ scheme and were also considering  an incentive programme to maintain recruitment levels for new apprentices this year.

Further conversations are being held on skills enhancements and employee mapping although these are medium term themes which will be further developed going forward.


  • Gordon McGuiness provide short written update on work of the sub-group

R and D and innovation activity

The sub-group has continued to look at:

  •  ‘lifeboat’ projects that have been paused due to Covid  but could be accelerated and may have the potential to create or preserve jobs immediately
  • the promotion of capability within the Scottish supply chain and matching this and R&D with end-user requirements
  • levelling up of investment and capability to create enhanced competitiveness, including the utilisation of existing assets and infrastructure

The sub-group is also examining the level of funding that comes through UK national programmes such as Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) and National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme (NATEP). Further work is needed to establish why Scottish companies are seeing limited investment through these national programmes. A visual map of relevant funding programmes is being developed to enable companies to navigate their way around the funding landscape. 

Connections have been made with Airbus and Boeing to better understand Tier 1 requirements and thus support the matching of capability. 

There has been further engagement with the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Aerospace Research Centre (ARC) - the university network involved with aerospace research – to explore they might better support the Scottish sector

Work is underway to match companies with key assets such as the Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC) and National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS) to ensure that we are making best use of infrastructure to accelerate R&D activity and projects.

There is active development of a project ion 3D printing high value metal that has the potential to support 50 jobs. An initial assessment of the opportunity is underway.


  • SG/SE to consider mechanism for understanding level and success of ATI project submissions from Scottish companies 

Stronger supply chains

Work is focused on two related themes:  

Mapping the supply chain

Work undertaken through Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service (SMAS) to develop an initial map of the supply chain in Scotland with further work  to develop a more detailed picture. This will support the identification of potential vulnerabilities in the supply chain and support the work of other Sub-Groups.  

Strengthening the supply chain

Work has been completed to map out the existing continuous improvement and supplier development programmes available, including the uptake from Scottish companies. The next stage is to understand why the uptake in such programmes within companies in Scotland is relatively low, and identify ways to increase uptake and enable that support to increase the overall competitiveness of the sector in Scotland. 


  • members/companies interested in supporting the supply chain map sub-group to contact Warwick

Market opportunities and diversifications

There are five different work streams:

Decommissioning hub – Theo Leijser

Work ongoing to build a narrative for short and long term R andD opportunities with the aim of developing a business case to support investment. This is tied in to the second opportunity of a logistics hub. Engagement underway with partners on the Prestwick campus to establish what the logistics hub will look like and how that would work alongside the decommissioning hub.

Defence and space diversification – Warrick Malcolm

A spreadsheet has been developed to identify and track the various opportunities  across the space and defence sectors. 

Diversification energy – David Leven 

Initial engagement held with Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult and the Oil and Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) to start bringing together the right people to match aerospace capability with energy needs.

Reshoring – Nicola Spence

Work underway to identify what off-shore work could be brought back to Scotland and to match opportunities to suppliers. This includes looking across global supply chains and undertaking an analysis to understand why opportunities may not be suitable for re-shoring

Sustainable aviation – Chris McLean

The use of electric and hydrogen powered engines for various aircraft continues to be evaluated with discussions held with Scottish academic and industrial partners. Scotland is relatively well placed in capability and geography, for instance the Highlands & Islands region which offers an attractive testbed option. Seeking to bring together inward investment opportunities and match these to supply chain capabilities.


  • members/companies to inform the respective work stream leads if they would like to be involved in supporting these activities


It was noted that the Response Group and associated sub-groups were undertaking a wide range of work on short, medium and long term opportunities. 

Given the immediate challenges facing the sector, it was agreed that it would be helpful to identify the timelines for different opportunities and to prioritise our collective resources around those opportunities most likely to support the sector and employment in the short term, whilst continuing to explore medium to long term opportunities too. It was noted that additional, dedicated resource (people and expertise) would likely be required to make sufficient progress 


  • SG to work with Sub-Group leads to map and identify short, medium and long term opportunities and consider resource needs to make progress

Date of next meeting

The next meeting is  scheduled for 14.30-16.00 Monday 17th August.

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