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Aerospace giants land in Wrexham for summit on future of industry in Wales

4 June 2016


Giants of international aerospace engineering landed at Wrexham Glyndwr University for a summit on the future of the industry in Wales.

The Welsh institution hosted the Aerospace Wales Forum, where more than 60 top companies, welsh government officials  and organisations came together to discuss how best to capitalise on growth in the sector, job opportunities, skills and training, and impact on the economy.

Held at the Catrin Finch Centre, attendees included Airbus, Raytheon, Marshall Group, Tritech, DECA Sealand and Babcock International.

Dickie Davis OBE, Deputy Director for the Welsh Government’s Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Sector, praised the University for hosting the “inspiring” programme.

“This was an excellent event organised by the Aerospace Wales Forum – the speakers all enforced the huge potential of the engineering industry in terms of job potential and variety in Wales, and on the world stage,” he said.

“Academia has a significant role to play in underpinning the sector and getting graduates job ready, so I would like to Wrexham Glyndwr University for hosting such an inspiring event.”

Apprentices from Airbus spoke of the importance of intertwining education and industry, followed by presentations by Bob Ditton, Head of Engineering at Raytheon, and Richard Day, Professor of Composites Engineering at Wrexham Glyndwr, amongst others.

John Whalley, Chief Executive of Aerospace Wales, later chaired a discussion on skills, engineering and the aerospace arena going forward.

Professor Maria Hinfelaar, Vice-Chancellor of Wrexham Glyndwr University, paid tribute to the sector’s joined-up approach in Wales and said the institution has a key role to play as it looks to further strengthen its engineering offering in the years ahead.

“It is an honour for us to have the cream of engineering in Wales and internationally here at the University for such important discussions,” said Professor Hinfelaar.

Professor Day – who has been asked to contribute to the UK Aerospace Strategy document – agreed the University, in partnership with its further education and industry colleagues, should be up front and centre as the sector develops, not just in Wales but globally.

“We have a rich tradition and reputation for engineering here at Wrexham Glyndwr,” he said.

“As we all look to the future together and bring through the next generation of engineers, it’s important we stand side by side and ensure we are at the forefront when it comes to providing them with the necessary skills to succeed on the world stage.

“This event was very encouraging, and it was an honour for us to host it here on our Wrexham campus.”

Professor Day made headlines recently for his work in developing new methods that will drastically reduce the time taken to manufacture parts for aircraft.

He was awarded a prestigious fellowship to work with experts from Sheffield and Bristol to explore microwave technology designed to cut energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions when building parts for the aerospace sector.

Professor Day - an expert on the rapid manufacturing of composites, critical for the next generation of aircraft - founded the North West Composites Centre at Manchester University before joining Wrexham Glynd┼Ár in 2010, where he helped set up the Advanced Composites Training and Development Centre with Airbus in Broughton, Flintshire.

He has also been awarded the EPSRC High Value Manufacturing Catapult Fellowship to work with the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) and the National Composites Centre in Bristol (NCC).