Aerospace Response Group minutes: 31 August 2020

Minutes of the meeting of the Aerospace Response Group, held on 31 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 Leven, Scottish Enterprise
  • Gordon McGuinness, Director, Industry and Enterprise, SDS
  • Jim Hannigan, NMIS-MSA, SDS
  • Billy Scott, Sector Lead, Engineering, SDS


  • 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, Mike Stewart
  • SpiritAero, Nicola Spence
  • Woodward, Paul McDonagh
  • GE Caledonian, Iain Rodger

Trade associations

  • ADS Scotland, Warrick Malcolm, Director ADS Scotland
  • Stuart Gallacher, Chair, ADS Scotland

Trades unions

  • GMB, Alan Ritchie


  • University of Strathclyde, Matt Maynard
  • University of Strathclyde, Sarah Jardine

Local Government

  • South Ayrshire Council, Calum McPhail
  • Renfrewshire Council, Alasdair Morrison


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

  • Theo Leijser
  • Sandra Black
  • David Smith
  • Linda Hanna
  • David Avery
  • Nigel Amphlett
  • Neil Morris
  • Paul Sheerin

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 the 6th meeting of the Aerospace Response Group and expressed thanks for work undertaken by the Group thus far. The Minister noted that there has been significant progress made, identifying key areas of focus which would form the basis for the options paper discussion later in the meeting. The Minister re-emphasised the validity of the ARG meetings as a useful forum for the Group to come together and openly discuss the challenges faced by the aerospace sector in Scotland and find actions to mitigate potential impacts.

Pan – UK level activity

The Minister continues to engage with the UK Government in emphasising the need to work collaboratively with the devolved nations, however, he expressed disappointment at the lack of response on this issue, but that nevertheless he would still keep pressing UKG for representation at a Scottish level.  

A survey was circulated to businesses operating in the aerospace sector in Scotland.  The aim of this was to gain a better understanding of the challenges faced by the aerospace sector now and in the coming months. For a range of reasons, there had been very few responses to the survey. The Group agreed to extend the deadline for survey returns and to work to raise the response rate 


  • SG to extend survey deadline and liaise with ARG members to maximise its reach

People and skills

At the last meeting, the sub-group reflected on the actions to be taken forward. A number of different actions are in train , such as the Adopt an Apprentice scheme. Measures to keep in touch with those who have left the aerospace sector, or have taken an alternative employment route have also been discussed.. The sub-group have looked at the wider apprenticeship journey from foundation through to graduate apprenticeships, but recognise the industry is facing potential disruptions at the moment. 

R and D and innovation activity

The sub-group are currently focused on setting up virtual conferences, with invitations being sent to a number of Tier 1 stakeholders. Once responses have been received, the group will work with ADS for invitations to go out to industry and further develop the format for the events. Mr Hepburn offered to open the first virtual conference, tentatively arranged for W/C 14th September. 

Separately, the sub-group have continued discussions with ATI around a Scottish presence in projects such as FlyZero. Conversations are also ongoing with ATI with regard to opportunities in critical infrastructure funding and building the concept of clusters for R&D. 

Stronger supply chains

The sub-group have continued to meet fortnightly and are content that mapping activity, barring any further short updates, is now complete. The sub-group have reached out to AGP and its supply chain taskforce to ensure alignment and join-up. 

The sub-group have continued their focus on building a “best practices” resource and have a meeting scheduled with Invest NI to obtain insight into the successes and failures in Northern Ireland’s own aerospace sector. Work to boost the participation in continuous improvement programmes was recognised as a key activity to be taken forward in order to support the positioning of the sector in Scotland in an increasingly competitive global market.

Market opportunities and diversifications

Theme leads highlighted that the sub-group had continued to progress the five work streams as follows. 

Decommissioning hub – Nicola Spence

A number of industrial meetings have been held through the Prestwick cluster, that resulted in a letter of support being signed by local companies emphasising their support for this project going forward. The letter proposes a two phase approach; The first phase being locating and securing any existing infrastructure to undertake the work in the short term; The second phase  is the long-term strategy for the creation of permanent infrastructure and a decommissioning hub that would support supply chain development.

Defence and space diversification – Warrick Malcolm

Currently pulling together opportunities with the Scottish Space Leadership Council. The sub-group also recommended that MoD-related development and procurement work required for the Team Tempest opportunity should come out as one of the top priorities going forward.

Diversification energy – David Leven

Progress was being made on how to link this opportunity into the virtual conferences and is felt to be the quickest and easiest way to get awareness of this opportunity out to the supply chains, enabling businesses to be able to understand the requirements from the energy sector and how this aligns with the capabilities within the aerospace sector.

Re-shoring – Jamie Mincher 

Progress also being linked through the virtual conferences to demonstrate examples of success and to highlight potential opportunities that the supply chain can get involved with.

Options paper for future ARG scope and structure

Following discussions with all theme leads it was agreed that the initial activity of the ARG was approaching its conclusion and that the Group was now moving toward a new, more delivery-focussed, phase of activity. The options paper acknowledged the work undertaken and scenarios for utilising the collective expertise of the Group to ensure aerospace in Scotland was placed on a firm footing. The main revisions to scope consider:

  • raising the ambition of the sector in Scotland
  • maintaining apprenticeship numbers
  • exploring all the opportunities through workstream 5

Work is now required to build work packages and delivery plan around this revised scope and to further prioritise 4-6 activities to be taken forward immediately - supported by industry secondments as a dedicated resource with technical expertise.  The group are also keen to pursue development and procurement opportunities that may arise as a result of the Team Tempest (MOD).  It was also agreed that the Group would move to meeting on a quarterly basis as well as the introduction a non-ministerial forum to support oversight of progress.


  • SG to work with theme leads to develop prioritised work packages and delivery plan
  • SG to explore possible funding mechanisms to enable industry secondees to provide technical expertise to support delivery work packages

Date of next meeting

Tuesday 29th September.

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