Midaero, an aerospace consultancy supporting businesses in the West Midlands and Nationwide to achieve essential industry certifications, has launched a competition to assist 20 manufacturers to reach AS9100 certification during the next twelve months.
Successful applicants will access a package of state-of-the-art technology to help them understand and close gaps in performance and compliance, at significantly reduced rates. Midaero believes the competition will help to highlight the number of ‘certification-ready’ businesses in the UK and the prohibitive total costs associated with the AS9100 certification.
AS9100 certification helps ensure an organisation has adequate quality management systems in place. Across the UK, there are approximately 900 manufacturing and service companies that hold AS9100 certification. However, this is a small proportion when compared to the thousands of businesses who may have the ability to be certified but are restricted by the high certification costs. An increased number of certified aerospace suppliers will help drive competition, satisfy current supply chain demands, and attract further investment from established aerospace giants such as Rolls Royce, and Airbus. It will also attract new entrants like Vertical Aerospace, Lilium, Boom and Joby.
In addition, one chosen manufacturer will have all their certification preparation costs underwritten by Midaero. The chosen manufacturer will need to meet predefined commercial and quality criteria and have the capability to make a difference within the local and global supply chain.
As it stands, AS9100 certified companies generate an annual turnover in excess of £38bn according to Unite. Aerospace consistently delivers one of the UK’s highest average wages injecting over £5bn per year to the UK economy. This is set to increase as global aerospace markets return to their projected growth targets, and demand continues to ramp up. Midaero believes increasing the capability and capacity within the UK aerospace industry through reducing the costs associated with AS9100 could be transformational.
Doug Allen, CEO of Midaero, said: “Britain is very proud of its place at the forefront of the global aerospace industry, but competition from emerging nations is a significant threat. These nations are investing heavily to expand their own aerospace sectors and attract the industry’s leading names. If such countries are successful in their expansion efforts, the UK could lose skills, jobs, and contracts. However, a concerted programme of UK investment, and supply chain expansion can mitigate this risk. Importantly, it will also garner interest from a huge number of innovative start-ups driving the movement towards greener flight.”
Speaking of the supply chain commercial opportunities within aerospace, Halil Bedevi, UK Head of Aerospace, Defence, Rail & Advanced Manufacturing, Santander UK, said: “The rigorous nature of AS9100 certification has helped to develop an aerospace industry in the UK that is both a source of immense national pride and envy around the world. However, its nature dictates a rigorous assessment process whereby the full cycle cost of preparation and certifying audit, can disincentivise small businesses.
“As we enter a period of intense innovation towards greener flight, we welcome Midaero’s efforts to make AS9100 requirements easier for the smaller businesses within the UK supply chain. Encouraging smaller businesses into the aerospace sector can offer them national and international supply chain opportunities, not only benefiting company balance sheets, but reaffirming the UK’s reputation as an aerospace leader nation.
“We would encourage UK businesses keen to access the aerospace supply chain, to participate in this competition and take up this unique chance to gain the support and counsel necessary to achieve AS9100 certification.”
Encouraging participation in the scheme, Stuart Anderson, Member of Parliament for Wolverhampton South West, said: “It was fantastic to meet the team at Midaero – the Midland Aerospace Partnership – and learn about their incredible work supporting local businesses to enter our world-leading aerospace sector. Small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of our economy in Wolverhampton, and I am proud to be an MP for a city which has so many innovative, forward-thinking enterprises.
“The UK has been at the forefront of aviation for more than a hundred years, and I want to see Wolverhampton’s strong links with the aerospace sector go from strength to strength in the years ahead. Our aerospace companies work to the highest standards, accredited through AS9100 certification. I welcome Midaero’s work to level up opportunities for businesses to obtain this certification and I would encourage all businesses to apply.”