The West of England has over 100 years of history at the forefront of aerospace innovation. From the earliest days of the Bristol Boxkite, through to the Brabazon and the Concorde, to the Airbus A380 and A350 aircraft, the area has been at the heart of aircraft design and development. The Rise of the Engineer Issue 4 factsheet looks closely at the aerospace sector, explaining the recent technological developments and the varied employment opportunities that are available.
The aerospace industry is widely accepted as being a leading economic driver in the West of England. 60 per cent of the West of England aerospace output is exported worldwide and the sector accounts for 9,200 jobs just across the areas of Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset. Our aerospace sector generates, through sales alone, £5.5billion every year, with around 1,500 businesses feeding into that figure.
14 of the top Aerospace companies all have facilities in the West of England, including; GKN Aerospace, Airbus, Boeing, Rolls Royce, Thales and Claverham. The focus of the industry is the design and manufacture of both civil and military aircraft components, assemblies and engines. A large part of the aerospace work carried out in the West of England is research and development into making aircraft more efficient. These well known large businesses, are supported by a significant supply chain of local employers such as; SITEC Group, Sterling Dynamics, AACE, Horstman, Rotork, Polamco, AVPE and Oxford Instruments, who provide research, design and manufacturing capabilities. There is probably a business not far from your door step which is a part of the aerospace industry!
Opportunities exist at all entry levels from advanced, technical and undergraduate apprenticeships, direct entry graduate schemes, internships and direct employment, as well as ongoing support for further professional qualifications such as MSc bursaries and Chartered Engineer status. Whilst Bath, Bristol and UWE universities offer engineering degrees, local colleges also offer full time vocational training, and with apprenticeships now allowing you to blend vocational and academic work all the way to degree level, you can chose the learning style which suits you best.