Manx firm claims it was ‘snubbed’ by government department

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The Department of Economic Development has been accused of snubbing a local business after favouring an off-island competitor.

Mark Wheeler, who formed ATT Services in October 2012 with help from the Small Business Start-Up Scheme, says preference should have been given to his aviation training firm to advertise three jobs connected with the Isle of Man Aircraft Registry.

The DED insists it made the right choice to maintain the Registry’ high standards.

Mr Wheeler said: ‘I remain shocked at their actions, especially considering my local Member of the House of Keys, John Shimmin, appears to dismiss his own electorate over and above his role with the DED by promoting and supporting off-island business.

‘This continually at the expense of a local business who can do it better and who interact directly with suitable professionals for the roles on a daily basis’.

Mr Wheeler contacted the DED in December when he saw it was advertising to replace retiring director of civil aviation Hartley Elder in Flight International magazine. He was told the use of a magazine offered the best possible outcome. In response, ATT Services launched a free digest, FL600, with a contact reach of over 12,000.

But he said despite that, no invitations to tender were made to Manx companies when two specialised management positions were then advertised in the magazine.

A DED spokesman said: ‘In this instance, the department’s first duty is to maintain the high standards we have created in the Aircraft Registry such that it can continue to support the growth of the business aviation services sector. The department is satisfied the choices made in recruiting the three specialist management positions were the right ones to meet this duty.’

He described Flight International as the world leading aviation magazine, distributing 25,000 hard copies to subscribers, issuing up to 10,000 digital copies monthly, and receiving over one million website visitors monthly.

The DED justified its use of UK recruitment consultants Berwick Partners, saying: ‘In such a specialist field, experience has shown it is very helpful to employ recruitment consultants with relevant expertise and knowledge of relevant candidates.’

ATT Services has a substantial network and market presence in the aviation sector providing marketing for training and career vacancies, events and news. Its new monthly digest of news and features has all current advertisements.

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