Title: Proximities, knowledge and skills and the future of the Welsh aerospace industry

Authors: Philip Cooke, Oliver Ehret

Addresses: Centre for Advanced Studies, Cardiff University, 44-45 Park Place, Cardiff CF10 3BB, Wales, UK. ' National Organisation Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology, Fasanenstrasse 5, 10623 Berlin, Germany

Abstract: This paper contrasts proximities, skills and knowledge in the aerospace industry of Wales, UK. It distinguishes between three areas of main strengths and assesses their current and future viability. North Wales represents a vertical production supply chain cluster dominated by an Airbus plant. The industry in South Wales is more fragmented and less embedded in the region, and qualifies as an agglomeration. The advent of composites as the wing material of the future devalues the metal expertise of the north and calls for the development of composite skills. The south builds on a more heterogeneous knowledge base requiring diversified strategies for knowledge development, but should benefit most from fostering composite RDT.

Keywords: Wales; Welsh aerospace industry; proximities; tacit knowledge; knowledge development; skills; aerospace clusters; Airbus; proximity.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.2010.032681

International Journal of Technology Management, 2010 Vol.50 No.3/4, pp.356 - 366

Published online: 12 Apr 2010 *

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