In what has been an unprecedented and understandingly challenging year, I’d like to use this Christmas message to reflect on what we have been able to achieve in the face of adversity.
It seems like a lifetime ago when we were all gathered for the ADS Annual Dinner in January, celebrating the work of our sectors and the opportunities ahead. To think less than one year ago there were one thousand of us gathered in one room! In March the Security & Policing exhibition was a huge success and marked a deepening of the relationship between the Home Office, the Department of International Trade and ADS in securing export opportunities for our world beating security industry.
These were great events and a chance to see you all before the pandemic rewrote our plans for 2020. In January, we also held our first ADS Women in Aerospace and Defence Summit as part of our ongoing commitment to improve diversity & inclusion in our sectors, please keep an eye out for the next such event which we hope to run in 2021.
Despite uncertainty it has never been more important to focus on productivity and competitiveness, so it has been fantastic to see supply chain excellence continue to shine this year. We now have the most gold performance award winners on the SC21 Operational Excellence Programme than ever before. It is a credit to those who have worked so hard to improve their businesses and I’m glad to see more and more companies recognised for their achievement.
There has been good news for defence, the Government confirmed new investment for the sector, providing an additional £16.5 billion over four years. This investment will boost our national security, help the UK address new and rapidly evolving threats by developing innovative world-class capabilities, and support our economic recovery. The commitment to key projects will embed high-value design and manufacturing skills in all regions and nations of the UK for decades to come. Next year we will see the detail of the Integrated Review and the Defence and Security Industrial Strategy setting the course for exciting new projects and the continuation of the shipbuilding strategy and FCAS.
Of course, the most significant event of 2020 was the Coronavirus pandemic which has taken its toll of families and business around the world. I’m not going to dwell on the impacts in this message, instead I’m going to mention the amazing work of our members to help the country get through this difficult period. Whether it was through working as part of VentilatorChallengeUK to produce much needed ventilators for hospitals across the UK, or adapting manufacturing facilities to produce PPE equipment for front-line workers, our members rallied together to provide timely, innovative and real solutions. I’m incredibly proud of what you have achieved this year and the way you responded while also facing your own challenges.
Despite the difficulties the civil aerospace industry continues to invest in a cleaner and greener future. The launch of the UK Government’s Jet Zero Council signals a shared goal; delivering net zero aviation and securing new industrial opportunities for this important sector.
In 2021, we will focus on recovery and rebuilding our important sectors, and investing in our long-term future. Whatever happens, I know you have been resilient, and we will continue to work together to meet the challenges that lie ahead.
Thank you for your support during this tough year. I will be staying on into the beginning of 2021 to support a smooth handover to a new ADS Chief Executive. I and all of the team at ADS, look forward to working with you next year, maintaining the dialogue which is key to ensuring ADS continues to work successfully for you our Members.
I wish you a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.
Chief Executive, ADS