A wide range of industry experts and partners gathered on 8 June to celebrate the hugely successful first year of the iAero aerospace centre in Yeovil.
iAero is a £10million, purpose-built research, design and innovation facility, designed to support the competitiveness and growth of the local aerospace and advanced engineering and manufacturing sector. This sector is worth more than £730m per year to the local economy and provides more than 12,000 local jobs.
The centre opened in early 2022, delivered by Somerset Council in partnership with Leonardo UK and the Heart of the South West (HotSW) LEP, and funded through the European Regional Development Fund, Local Growth Deal and Getting Building Fund.
Cllr Ros Wyke, Lead Member for Economy, Planning and Assets at Somerset Council, said:
“iAero is not only a centre for innovation but also collaboration. The One Year On event demonstrated this by creating valuable networking opportunities across the region and connecting small to medium enterprises, supply chain, innovators, funding organisations, institutions, local government and academia.
“The major successes achieved to date within the centre are also the result of collaboration, among tenants and partners. Just one example is the 3D printing facility which is the result of collaboration between Leonardo, Yeovil College, Mark 3D, and Somerset Council.
“Collaboration is also core to the centre’s very purpose – to foster innovation through collaboration, between industry and small to medium enterprises, as well as educational institutions, Government, industry bodies, funding bodies, and others. iAero underlines Somerset Council’s commitment to delivering on our priority of creating a flourishing and resilient Somerset.”
In June 2022 Leonardo Helicopters became the anchor tenant for iAero when the Research and Innovation Team moved into the centre. Adam Clarke, Managing Director of Leonardo Helicopters UK, said:
“At Leonardo as a global aerospace and defence business, we are intrinsically integrated into a network of innovative opportunities across multiple countries and locations. iAero provides the perfect Petrie dish to grow innovative ecosystems in the aerospace sector right here in Somerset to complement developments at the “Home of British Helicopters”.
Furthermore, with the ongoing commitment and work of our partners, like Somerset Council and the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, the regional aerospace sector looks to continue to evolve with iAero at its heart.”
Karl Tucker, Chair of the Heart of the South West LEP, said:
“We were thrilled to celebrate the achievements of the iAero Centre at the One Year On event. iAero has proven to be a pivotal asset for our region, promoting research, design, and innovation in the aerospace and advanced engineering sectors.
With its purpose-built infrastructure and collaborative environment, iAero is helping to drive the competitiveness and growth of our local economy, and we are delighted to support its ongoing success.”