Our company Aerocare Aviation Services was formed in April 2017 and forms part of the Aerocare group of companies. To launch a new business in such a competitive Aircraft MRO market was a huge risk but the support from the team at Aerospace Wales has been excellent throughout. Our business continues to now grow at a healthy rate and it’s clear that this would not have happened without the ability to connect our business through the Aerospace Wales team, with key industry partners, access routes for support funding for employee training and critically, in partnership with the Welsh government, provide access to subsidised show attendance platforms. I am truly grateful to John & Rachael for their considerable support afforded to myself and my team in the first year of our new exciting venture.
Since Rachael has taken over as Operations Director at Aerospace Wales I’ve been impressed with the number of notifications that have issued, informing of us of events and opportunities. I certainly read all e:mails from Aerospace Wales and have now followed up business leads with Airbus, Zodiac Seating and Ethiopian Airlines, none of which I would otherwise have known about.
Our relationship with Aerospace Wales has been extremely positive for us. It has enabled us to attend Forum days, which enable us to network and understand a different side to customers that we wouldn’t necessarily see when in a meeting with them. We have also recently exhibiting for the second time at the Singapore Airshow through Aerospace Wales, which was a fantastic opportunity. The exhibition generated lots of enquiries for us and allowed us to support our existing business in Singapore where face to face visits have previously been an issue due to the distance. Aerospace Wales are on hand to provide us with advice and support, both financially and design wise. They are excellent for contacts and really enable us to get to the right people. Finally, the close relationship between Aerospace Wales and the Welsh Government enables us to access other industries – such as the rail, space and automotive markets.
We have found the networking events very good for learning about new industry issues and for developing new contacts and opportunities.
Being a member company of the Aerospace Wales Forum gives our business direct contact with many aerospace manufacturing organisations in Wales. The networking events help us share best practices, compare industry trends and develop relationships with other key players in our sector. We collaboratively work together not just to benefit our own organisations but to develop a work class aerospace business environment in Wales.
From a skills provider perspective it is important for us to stay abreast of all the issues that key industry sectors are feeling and being part of the Aerospace community in Wales helps us find out what pinch points organisations are experiencing. Being part of the Forum also helps us understand what companies need and respond accordingly to develop skills programmes that are meaningful and address future needs, such as tailored talent management and apprenticeship programmes. From working with companies we now know that accessing Engineering Skills is a growing concern along with operational improvement and developing future leaders. Likewise I am able to share my knowledge of the skills and training market to bring funding and guidance to the network, including latest developments with the Apprenticeship Levy for UK employers – a tax now paid by any company, including those who are part of a group, which equates to 0.5% of their annual wage bill (if over £3M per annum) and paid direct through PAYE to the Government. Some senior representatives of quite large organisations operating in the Aerospace supply chain had been unaware, until I spoke with them, of the Apprenticeship Levy and how to devise a strategy to reclaim the Levy back into their organisation. In England if it is not spent within 24 months members could lose their ‘Levy pot’ to their competitors. The process for accessing Apprenticeship Levy funding in Wales is different to those based in England – but companies still have to pay the Levy wherever they are based! This sharing of knowledge and information between members and from Government representatives, for the benefit of the Welsh economy, makes it important with the current environment of uncertainty caused by Brexit that we work together to strengthen Wales’ competitive position and encourage the development of UK supply chains wherever possible.
Being an Aerospace Wales Forum member gives us the opportunity to network with a huge range of aerospace organisations in Wales as well as access to funding opportunities, subsidised exhibition packages and key industry information. The support that we receive from the forum is invaluable.