GOSPORT’S long association with engineering will continue for many decades to come.
That was the message from Minister for Portsmouth Matthew Hancock as he was given a tour of Vector Aerospace in Gosport.
The 75-year-old firm is to get £2m from the government to expand its business and take on another 71 engineers over the next decade.
Mr Hancock chatted with apprentices and was all smiles as he sat in the cockpit of a helicopter.
He told The News: ‘Vector is clearly a very important part of Gosport and it’s growing into new lines and also employs more than 1,000 people on this site.
‘We are supporting it and we are announcing more government support that’s going to come in alongside investment from Vector themselves to provide new engineering jobs to make sure they are at the cutting edge of design of engines and replacement parts for some of the aircraft that are increasingly in use round the world.
‘It’s been great to meet the apprentices here and hear about the changes that are happening.’
He added: ‘In Gosport over the last few years there’s been a sharp fall in unemployment.
‘And most of those have been high quality full-time jobs.
‘But support to make sure we get those high-end, specialised engineering jobs in Gosport, which has such a long tradition of engineering and technological jobs, is important.
‘We are working with firms to make sure we have a strong future for Gosport.’
Caroline Dinenage, MP for Gosport, said: ‘This is really important for the Gosport peninsula.
‘It’s always important we get our share of government funding and I fight very hard to make sure that happens.
‘This means this site, which has such historical significance, continues to be able to function and to grow, carry on taking on employees and compete for commercial work.’
Trevor Pritchard, public affairs director for Vector, said: ‘The £2m is over two years and is a catalyst to build our design modification services capability for both civil and military aircraft.
‘It’s effectively moving away from our traditional MoD-based work.
‘It will create over 70 jobs over a 10-year period which is a significant increase.
‘We currently have about 11 people in that area.
‘It’s great news we are getting government assistance to build our business to transform it from what’s been predominantly MoD-based business into a business that’s more diversified and export driven.’