Cable in aerospace apprenticeships call

UK business secretary Vince Cable has called on young people to pursue careers in aerospace.

Mr Cable will be accompanied at the airshow in Hampshire by business minister Mark Prisk and was due to tour an Airbus A380 superjumbo.

Mr Cable agreed to chair regular meetings with aerospace business leaders to focus on major strategic issues facing the aerospace sector. He said: "I am looking forward to visiting the world leading British aerospace companies at today's show, where I am hoping to see first hand everything from the enormous A380 to intricate brake discs.

"The breadth of expertise in this sector is incredible, but for our industry to maintain its position in the global market, we will need a new generation of inspired workers with the skills and new ideas to push aerospace forwards."

He went on: "This Government working together with industry will support the sector by delivering the right skills where they are needed most. We will encourage a new generation of talent by investing in high level apprenticeships and sustaining a high-performing research environment."

The biennial seven-day show will feature two aircraft making their debuts in the UK. One of them, the much-delayed Boeing 787 Dreamliner passenger plane, touched down in the UK for the first time when it landed at Farnborough yesterday.

The other is the Airbus A400M military plane - another aircraft that suffered its share of delays - which made its UK debut at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford at the weekend, before flying on to Farnborough. The RAF is taking 22 of the planes.

The Red Arrows will be taking part in the flying displays at the show, which will also feature a marking of the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain in the form of a mock dogfight between a Spitfire and a Messerschmitt ME109.

Ian Godden, chairman of UK aerospace, defence and security trade organisation ADS, said: "The Farnborough show will highlight to the world the best of high-technology British manufacturing and services.

"The UK's aerospace and defence sectors are number one in Europe, second only to the US globally, while our space and security industries have further considerable room for growth towards a similar position. Together they employ around 500,000 people across the UK, generating around £60 billion per year to the UK economy and £25 billion in exports."

Mr Godden described the Boeing Dreamliner as "a terrific aircraft" and said the A400M would "deliver urgently-needed capability to the RAF and other air forces".

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