First Minister Arlene Foster today welcomed the progress of Northern Ireland Partnering for Growth, the regional ten-year strategy for the aerospace, defence, security and space industry in Northern Ireland.
The strategy launched in 2014, set a target to increase annual turnover in the sector from £1billion to £2billion and to increase employment from 8,000 to 12,000 over the ten years from 2014 to 2024.
Recognising the substantial developments to date, First Minister Arlene Foster said: “I welcome the significant progress that has been made since the launch of the Northern Ireland Partnering for Growth strategy and I am very encouraged that annual revenues have increased by 30% to £1.3billion and employment to nearly 10,000 high value jobs. I have no doubt that these impressive results will only improve and the 10 year target to increase annual turnover in the sector to £2billion and employment to 12,000 by 2024 will be achieved.
“This growth demonstrates the ability of the Northern Ireland companies operating in this important sector who have focused on skills, supply chain development, research and development, sales and exports to boost their competitiveness in the sector.
“Northern Ireland has a cost competitive, agile, efficient and outward-looking aerospace sector with companies competing for and winning business internationally, building strong partnerships founded on ambition, innovation and performance.
“The Northern Ireland Executive will continue to work closely with colleagues in Westminster to ensure aerospace, defence, security and space continue to play a major role in the delivery of economic prosperity in this part of the UK.
“Our targets are ambitious but with Northern Ireland’s proud aerospace history, we have proven time and time again that we can overcome challenges and become leaders in a global market.”
The strategy is led by ADS, implemented by industry and supported by Invest Northern Ireland.
Over 100 local, national and international industry representatives gathered in the Long Gallery, Parliament Buildings to recognise those working to build Northern Ireland’s reputation for excellence in aerospace technology.
Marcus Bryson, Chairman of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ Aerospace Hub, said: “A primary objective of this regional strategy was to extend the international reach of the aerospace supply chain through technological developments, and performance enhancement to target increased work share on major aircraft platforms worldwide. Impressively, every major global commercial aircraft programme uses structures, components and expert services from Northern Ireland.
“The 60 strong cluster of aerospace business in Northern Ireland already play a full and meaningful part in UK aerospace development. I congratulate the many leading Northern Ireland businesses that have contributed to our successes.”
Paul Everitt, CEO of ADS Group added: “Partnering for Growth is a great success and demonstrates the importance of government and industry working together to deliver more long-term, high value jobs. The support companies can access to improve productivity, to develop their own technology and to access important international customers is making a real difference.“It has been fantastic to see the enthusiasm, commitment and increasing confidence that has flowed from the work being done. There continues to be global growth opportunities across the aerospace, defence, space and security industries and ADS is committed to continue its support for this important programme.”