Aerospace Cluster Strengthens SME CoreThu, 03/21/2019 - 17:48
Q: How has the country’s talent shortage impacted Queretaro’s aerospace industry?
A: The strong and sustained growth of aerospace companies based in Queretaro led to an increasing need for specialized and highly trained people for manufacturing, MRO, design and engineering activities. UNAQ and other public and private universities are supplying engineers that in some cases require further training. At the same time, companies are attracting experienced talent from other industries, such as automotive and metal-mechanic. An important number of technicians are coming from other states as well, not only because of the job opportunities available but because Queretaro offers a good quality of life that is not available in other cities.
However, talent demand forces companies in Queretaro to hire people with higher salaries than what they get in their current jobs, which causes salary inflation that clearly impacts the competitiveness of the local aerospace sector.
Q: What new collaborations is Queretaro Aerocluster establishing with academic institutions such as UNAQ to boost the development of aerospace talent?
A: This year we are launching one of our most ambitious projects yet: a major initiative called ON BOARD, which consists of three key activities. The first is to develop a communication strategy that will allow us to reach the local community to present a wide variety of job opportunities for students and workers. The second is to provide an online tool that will give users a better understanding of the training opportunities available at several academic institutions and research centers. Finally, we are planning to develop a strategy to communicate and reward success stories to help us motivate younger generations to become part of our accomplishments.
Q: How is the cluster helping SMEs adapt to the needs of the global aerospace industry?
A: With the help of the Queretaro State Ministry of Economic Development, we have channeled resources to assist local SMEs mainly with training in several areas of expertise, such as quality certifications, quality tools, advanced manufacturing, nondestructive testing, human capabilities and Industry 4.0.
Less than five years ago, the vast majority of our companies were large international businesses coming mostly from Europe and North America. In 2019, more than 50 percent of our companies are SMEs from Mexico and other countries, mainly specialized in manufacturing, special processes, MRO services, design and engineering.
Q: How is Queretaro Aerocluster working with fellow aeroclusters, local governments, FEMIA and the federal government to promote the consolidation?
A: We are working on very specific activities with clusters in northern Mexico and sharing good practices with them. We are constantly connecting opportunities between companies that belong to different clusters. With FEMIA, we are sharing information and supporting initiatives that benefit us and its members. We believe that we have complimentary goals, us as cluster working at the state level and FEMIA having a broader reach. We hope this relationship becomes more proactive in the years to come, considering the great opportunities ahead. Competition can only take us so far but collaboration will take us even further.
Q: What are your main growth expectations for the Mexican aerospace industry in 2019 ?
A: The state’s aerospace sector will continue growing at a double-digit rate, attracting more FDI and strengthening local companies, especially SMEs. We foresee the development of new strategies at a federal level that will help to align efforts in terms of public financing, scientific and technological development. Similarly, we expect to see broader support for clusters, which would allow the continuation of ongoing projects and activities to benefit our members.
Queretaro Aerocluster promotes the sustainable development of the aeronautical and space industries in Queretaro. The cluster brings together aerospace companies, research centers, academia and government institutions