06 July 2022
Tenth anniversary: ​​Lombardy Aerospace Cluster hosts the CTNA in Varese on its journey through the aerospace districts
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On the afternoon of July 5, the CTNA trip also passed through Varese, the historic headquarters of the Lombardy aerospace industry, to take stock of the technological excellence of the area it visited. In Ville Ponti, the Lombardy Aerospace Cluster (LAC) organized an event celebrating the tenth anniversary of the CTNA to reward the four students, future engineers and technicians in the sector, who were awarded the LAC scholarships.

The work was started by Angelo Vallerani, President of the LAC, who explained the meaning and value of joining the National District by a regional District. That sense was already intuited 10 years ago, considering that the LAC is one of the first 5 “founding” Districts of the CTNA.

The meeting aimed to celebrate history to look at the future prospects of research and innovation, reiterating the fundamental role that training plays in supporting these processes.

In the introduction Fabrizio Sala , Councilor for Education, University, Research, Innovation and Simplification of the Lombardy Region, underlined the strategic nature of the aerospace sector not only in the Lombard economy, but also for the development of the entire country system and reiterated the commitment to collaborate for growth within and beyond regional borders, in aggregative venues such as those of the National Technological Clusters, because “Economy and research have no borders”.

The numbers and widespread nature of the Lombardy aerospace sector were presented by President Vallerani: 220 companies and 19,300 employees, 58 billion in turnover, of which over 1 billion euros in exports (equal to 1/3 of national exports in the sector), with almost total coverage of all relevant technologies and a record of excellence in some specific areas, such as that of advanced air mobility .

The curtain was then opened on the history of the CTNA, told through an evocative video curated by Gregory Alegi,   historian and journalist, author of the publication ” CTNA 10: From the tradition of the territories to aerospace innovation”. Prof. Alegi recalled that the first Italian aerospace industry was born in Lombardy in 1913 with Nieuport Macchi and that around that industry and many others that developed subsequently, the Lombard ecosystem of the aerospace sector continued to grow and remain a national and international point of reference. The history of the CTNA highlights how, over the last 10 years, nuclei of aerospace ecosystems have arisen in many other territories, following different characterizations and development models, but always believing in the importance of the aggregation carried out by the CTNA. From the first 5 Districts in 2012, today the CTNA has 12 Associated Districts, together with research bodies, ASI, AIAD and 2 large companies.

Cristina Leone, President of the CTNA, talked about the evolution of the role of the National Aerospace Technology Cluster from a project-oriented approach to a technology- and program-oriented approach and illustrated the latest initiatives. In recent years, the CTNA has successfully inaugurated a communication channel aimed at the world of schools, offering support for information and training activities for young people with the aim of discovering new intelligences and directing talents towards the study of technical and scientific subjects.

Training is one of the main levers of action also for the Lombardy Aerospace Cluster , for the benefit of its 100 Associates and in collaboration with the university system and specialist and higher education in the area.

The details of the “University – Business” project were told by Carlo Valerio , LAC Working Group Coordinator, who explained how collaboration and the exchange of experiences and skills between industry, especially SMEs, and academia, is a connector important to increase the competitiveness of the sector. LAC has already activated agreements with the Polytechnic of Milan, the University of Pavia and LIUC Cattaneo di Castellanza to encourage industrial internships between these universities and LAC associates. The agreement with the University of Milan Bicocca will also be finalized soon.

The collaboration between the world of work and training is not limited to the university world, but also includes the system of Higher Technical Institutes (ITS) which play a fundamental role in training specialist technicians necessary to operate in high-tech sectors. Michele Fabritti of the ITS Lombardo Sustainable Mobility Foundation, presented the case of the ITS of Somma Lombarda (VA) which, thanks to the collaboration with ENAC, is now able to issue students who complete the course of studies with a qualification certificate recognized European level, allowing them to acquire not only highly qualified skills, but also a privileged “passport” for access to the job market at national and European level. Two professional qualification paths are currently active.

The LAC event concluded with the awarding of merit and the awarding of four LAC scholarships to two students from the IIS Andre Ponti of Gallarate and two students from the Polytechnic of Milan so that these young people can continue to study and specialize as future engineers and technicians in the sector.

The President of the CTNA thanked the Lombardy District for the demonstrated commitment aimed at developing innovation and competitiveness, but also for the constant desire to invest in young people and collaborate with other territories, also actively participating in CTNA projects and initiatives .

The Journey of the Districts stops for the summer break and will resume in September with new stages in Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna and Lazio.