Foster encourages aerospace companies to reach for the skies


Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has urged local aerospace companies to build on their reputation for excellence in the sector.

Arlene Foster addressed over 130 delegates at the ADS Supply Chains for the 21st Century (SC21) awards event in Titanic Belfast where seven Northern Ireland companies received silver and bronze awards following their participation on the SC21 programme.

SC21 is a business excellence programme for aerospace and defence companies in the UK run by ADS, the trade organisation for all companies operating in the UK Aerospace, Defence, Security and Space sectors and encourages best practice and increased competitiveness of Aerospace and Defence companies operating in the supply chain. Invest Northern Ireland and Bombardier Belfast play a key role in supporting the local companies participating in the programme.

Arlene Foster said: “The SC21 initiative provides an opportunity for Northern Ireland companies to demonstrate their capabilities and competence on a national scale. To date, Northern Ireland companies participating in the SC21 programme have seen a 50 per cent increase in sales. More importantly what SC21 has delivered is a structured approach to improvement, and a focus on an open and honest relationship between customer and supplier which is creating the necessary conditions for further growth in the sector.

“The success of Northern Ireland companies in this programme is testament to their commitment to the industry, and to high standards of practice. With ADS Northern Ireland firmly established, the local sector now has a clear voice to champion its development, and I look forward to seeing strong growth in the coming years.”

Stephen Cowan, General Manager, Supply Chain, Bombardier Aerospace, Belfast, said: “These awards today demonstrate the commitment of local suppliers to improving their competitiveness through the SC21 programme, and we want to build on this success. The work of the Aerospace Growth Partnership – a joint government and industry initiative – will further develop a supply chain competitiveness improvement programme that will enable local suppliers – and the UK aerospace industry as a whole – to differentiate themselves from the global competition in high-technology, high-value areas.”

Damian McArdle, General Manager of silver award-winning JW Kane Precision Engineering in Portadown, added: “We are thrilled to be awarded the SC21 silver award. It is an acknowledgement of the professionalism and skill that we apply to all elements of our business. The SC21 process has helped us formalise and prioritise how we take our next steps to excellence and continuously improve our systems and processes to increase our efficiencies and help to reduce costs for our customers.”

Leslie Orr, ADS NI Manager, said: “I am delighted for the silver and bronze award winners who are setting the benchmark on business excellence in our local Aerospace sector. The engineering expertise in Northern Ireland is outstanding and we look forward to more companies attaining these awards.”