Pounds 1.5m to Help Defence Contracts See Lift-Off; MANUFACTURING

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Byline: TOM SCOTNEY Business Staff

Defence and aerospace firms in the West Midlands have been boosted by a support package set up to link them with global contract opportunities worth billions of pounds.

The pounds 1.5 million World Class Supply Chains Initiative, funded by Advantage West Midlands, will provide grants supporting smaller firms looking to get involved in supply chains for the world's military contracts.

The scheme is being delivered by the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) in partnership with the Midlands Aerospace Alliance, and will offer grants of up to pounds 20,000 to firms looking to expand their profile on the world stage.

Jim Coyle, the aerospace cluster manager at Advantage West Midlands, said: "Our aerospace and defence sectors include more than 480 companies dedicated to supporting these industries, employing 20,000 people and generating an annual turnover of pounds 3 billion.

"These businesses operate at truly world class standards and underpin a huge amount of high value jobs, with some of the larger companies in the region investing heavily in research and development.

"With this in mind, we are delighted to announce this specialist support package as it will ensure our companies continue to be the best in the world when it comes to aerospace and defence. "The pounds 1.5 million investment in the West Midlands is currently the biggest regional investment being made in the UK to bring the benefits of SC21 - including the crucial expertise of the major industry leaders - to local manufacturers. …