The Isle of Man Aerospace Cluster (IOMAC) recently held its 25th Quarterly Forum at the Nunnery in Douglas hosted by the North West Aerospace Alliance (NWAA) of which it is a partner member, and there was particularly good news in terms of jobs.
Latest figures from the 21 businesses that are members of the Cluster show that they employ a total of 881 engineers and support staff, which is nearly 6% up on the figure of a year ago (837) and 38% more than in 2006 at the creation of the cluster.
The Department’s Political Member for Manufacturing Leonard Singer MHK commented:
‘These are very encouraging job figures. The growth is particularly impressive given it has been achieved despite the unfortunate closure of CVI Technical Optics with the loss of 41 jobs. I am delighted that virtually all affected individuals were able to find alternative employment within this strong and growing Cluster.
‘In addition, several member firms have had a number of staff retire over the past year. Once you take these factors into account, nearly 100 new jobs have been filled in the Cluster alone over the past year. These are very impressive figures and prove that the Isle of Man continues to be an attractive location for those looking for long term, well-paid careers in engineering.’
The news of the increased jobs highlights why manufacturing is one of the key sectors within Government’s Vision2020 strategy for the Island’s continued economic growth. Government has shown its commitment to the sector by providing nearly £1M in this year’s Budget to the Department of Education and Children (DEC) to turn the Hills Meadow training centre into a dedicated engineering training centre of excellence. This funding will enable DEC to double the intake for the Foundation Apprenticeship in Engineering from September this year to 36. Over 70 people have registered interest in this course already, so anyone interested is advised to make contact as soon as possible.
The Aerospace Cluster event also featured a presentation from the Chief Executive of the NWAA, Martin Wright, who updated members on prospects for the industry and key trends. He stressed that there was significant growth forecast by both Boeing and Airbus for orders for new airliners over the next 20 years, particularly from the Asia-Pacific region. He also highlighted that currently 85% of the world’s population has yet to take an aeroplane journey so the potential growth in demand for travel in emerging economies is very substantial.
‘The prospects for the Isle of Man Aerospace Cluster are very good. As an integral part of the UK’s aerospace supply chain, IOMAC members can expect to keep very busy order books for the next few years so the news of further investment into skills development by the Isle of Man Government should be welcomed.’
Delegates attending the forum also featured an update on the Engineering & Manufacturing Sector’s annual Careers event recently held at the Isle of Man College.
Adrian Harrison, the Engineering Sector Skills Champion commented:
‘I have never seen this annual event as busy. On the day some 300 people attended of all ages with many applying for the Foundation Apprenticeship in Engineering course which will have an intake of 36 students in September. People were continually turning up and asking some really good questions of us all. I hope that the event was useful to them and now allows people to work towards employment with this growing and exciting sector.’
A locally-produced video highlighting careers in engineering within the Isle of Man’s manufacturing sector can be viewed at www.whereyoucan.com/Resources-Details/Engineering-video.aspx