Jaguar Land Rover – inspiring tomorrow’s skills today

Relocate finds out how Jaguar Land Rover is furthering its ambitious plans for global growth and securing a sustainable future by investing in the next generation of engineers and cutting-edge technologies.

Jaguar Land Rover - inspiring tomorrow's skills today
These are exciting times for Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), the UK’s largest automotive manufacturing business, which, since 2008, has been owned by Indian automobile manufacturer Tata Motors.With sales and profits on the rise, the company is expanding its global presence by manufacturing its vehicles internationally, with the goal of reaching markets and customers and creating a stronger, more sustainable and increasingly agile business. JLR’s success is built on two iconic brands, the Land Rover range of all-wheel-drive vehicles and Jaguar, one of the world’s leading luxury sports car marques.The company achieved its best-ever full year global sales performance in 2015, up 5 per cent on the previous year. This is the sixth successive year of growth, with sales in 2015 more than double the 2009 figure. The UK, North America and Europe all saw record retail sales in 2015. Europe, where sales were up by 28 per cent year on year, was the largest region. North American sales were 25 per cent up on the previous year. A number of individual markets, including Australia, France, Germany, Korea, the UK and the USA, had record sales figures.

A multinational business

The UK is the cornerstone of JLR’s business and remains at the centre of its design, engineering and manufacturing capabilities. Over the past five years, the company has employed more than 20,000 people, taking its workforce to almost 40,000, and invested more than £12 billion in capital expenditure and developing new products.

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During this time, it has invested heavily in its UK vehicle manufacturing facilities at Castle Bromwich, Halewood and Solihull to support the introduction of new vehicles, and has doubled investment in its engine plant in the UK to almost £1 billion, creating several hundred new jobs.Significant progress has also been made in building an international manufacturing footprint. JLR continues to evaluate opportunities, primarily in markets with strong growth potential and customer demand.The company has had a local assembly presence in India since 2011. In 2014, it opened a joint venture in China and began construction of a local manufacturing plant in Brazil.The partnership between JLR and Chery Automobile Company is the first British-Chinese automotive joint venture. Located in Changshu, north of Shanghai, the facility represents a total investment of RMB10.9 billion (around £1 billion). The Range Rover Evoque and the Land Rover Discovery Sport are produced in Changshu for customers in China.The Brazil plant is JLR’s first wholly owned local manufacturing facility, and the company has blazed a trail by being the first British carmaker to build such a facility in Brazil. Located in the state of Rio de Janeiro, it represents an investment of R$750 million (£240 million), and was opened earlier this year.JLR also has a presence in mainland Europe. In 2015, it confirmed it would build a new manufacturing plant in the city of Nitra, in western Slovakia. The £1 billion plant will have an annual capacity of 150,000 vehicles, and the first cars are expected in late 2018. Earlier this year, a manufacturing partnership was agreed with Magna Steyr, an operating unit of Magna International, to build vehicles in Graz, Austria.In November, JLR attracted media headlines in the UK when it outlined the possibility of manufacturing electric cars at a site in Coventry provided that the government made the necessary investment in infrastructure. This could see 10,000 new jobs created in the West Midlands and would double JLR’s output from 500,000 to one million cars a year.Chief executive Dr Ralf Speth put forward the plans for the 60-acre site, which include building research facilities and test centres, with a longer-term plan of creating a battery manufacturing plant on a new site, at a meeting of political and car industry leaders. He said that an expansion in the Midlands would require massive improvements to local infrastructure, including the equivalent of four power stations in generating capacity.The announcement came days after Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond’s Autumn Statement, which announced the government’s intention to invest in infrastructure and a focus on promoting research and development.

Securing the future

Jaguar Land Rover’s plans for international growth must be supported by innovation in new products, engines and environmental technologies. As the UK’s leading investor in automotive research and development, the company is delivering breakthroughs in engineering, performance and sustainability, and is committed to encouraging young people to become the next generation of engineers and technologists, to sustain the business over the long term.The Royal Academy of Engineering predicts that the UK will face a shortfall of 200,000 qualified engineers by 2020. JLR is working with government and other agencies to identify ways of addressing this. It is also training and building the skills of young people, new recruits, and its existing workforce.In collaboration with schools and colleges, the firm’s Inspiring Tomorrow’s Engineers (ITE) programme promotes learning and engagement in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects, to encourage young people to consider careers in engineering or manufacturing. Key elements of the programme include dedicated education centres in the areas close to JLR facilities, imaginative projects for school pupils, and a wide variety of work experience opportunities for young people of different ages.The programme won Business in the Community’s (BITC) national education award in 2013, in recognition of the positive impact its long-term school partnerships were having on increasing employability skills and promoting engineering careers to young people.These initiatives, which engaged 300,000 students globally in 2015, are complemented by a range of opportunities for older students, such as apprenticeship programmes, graduate training schemes, and partnerships with universities and colleges.

Supporting UK and global growth

Reflecting its long-term commitment to education and the community, JLR became, in 2010, the first car manufacturer in the UK to achieve the highly regarded BITC CommunityMark, widely recognised as the national standard of excellence for community investment. In 2015, it received a Platinum Big Tick rating in BITC’s Corporate Responsibility Index for excellent, responsible business practice.These achievements recognise JLR’s investment in community programmes, including Education Business Partnership Centres (EBPC), employee volunteering programmes, national educational initiatives, and a wide range of community partnerships.Said engineering director Nick Rogers, "We firmly believe that our future prosperity lies in innovation, engineering and the application of science. We are also convinced they play a crucial role in the UK’s global competitiveness."We employ thousands of engineers working in the UK, and are investing more than £3 billion this year in engineering, research and product development. We will be filing for registration of more than 100 patents per year for our developments, and many of our technical specialists are global leaders in their fields."We work with more than 40 academic institutions, as well as with government, in the pursuit of new scientific and technological solutions to improve the performance and efficiency of our cars and manufacturing processes."It is critical to us that the UK maintains a strong focus on the teaching and nurturing of science. I believe the challenges the car industry faces over the next 20 years make it the best time for almost a century to be an automotive engineer."The world is looking to us to make personal mobility more sustainable, and we can only do that through the application of science," he added.As JLR continues to expand globally, it is widening its STEM education programme by rolling it out internationally, helping to nurture home-grown talent in the countries in which it operates.

Forging partnerships

Local to its manufacturing plants and engineering facilities, JLR has invested in six Education Business Partnership Centres (EBPCs) as part of a partnership with Birmingham Metropolitan College. The centres provide learning facilities and resources for children from primary-school age to 18+.Groups of students from local schools visit the centres for a day or part of a day with their teachers, to learn about engineering, manufacturing and automotive business-related activities. Teachers can use the facilities to complement their own courses or utilise tailor-made courses prepared by the centres."Jaguar Land Rover invests around £2 million each year in education-related programmes,” said Les Ratcliffe, head of community relations."Our education centres help young people gain a wider understanding of how vehicles are designed and manufactured, and inspire some to consider a career in the automotive industry."Over 20,000 young people and 3,000 teachers visit our six centres each year. The programme reaches students beyond those who visit the centres, as teachers take what they have learned back to the classroom to share with other children at their schools."JLR recently opened its first overseas EBPC at its manufacturing plant in Itatiaia, Brazil. This will engage with up to 12,000 young people annually. Later this decade, an EBPC will open at the new manufacturing plant in Slovakia.

Changing perceptions

In 2012, JLR and Birmingham Metropolitan College launched the Young Women in the Know initiative to challenge outdated perceptions of engineering. Participation has increased interest in engineering and design careers at Jaguar Land Rover by 35 per cent.The week-long course shows that modern engineering offers excellent career opportunities for women. Students visit JLR manufacturing, design and engineering sites, meet female apprentices, graduates and managers, and spend a day at work. They also learn about JLR’s apprentice and graduate schemes, and participate in workshops on job applications and interview techniques to improve their employability.Students gain a Level 1 Award in Employability and Personal Development, which includes applying for a job, interview skills, contributing to a team, and environmental awareness.In 2014, the EBPC teamed up with the recruitment team for the first time to link the week-long course to apprentice recruitment. This saw 14 participants secure apprenticeships. In 2015, all applicants were screened by the apprentice recruitment team, which was aligned with the standard application process.Those who met the requirements attended an assessment centre on the final day of the course. Of the 22 students participating in the course, nine secured Degree Apprenticeships and seven Higher Apprenticeships.Les Ratcliffe commented, "This is an excellent example of how our education programme prepares young people for employment opportunities at Jaguar Land Rover. Bespoke courses such as Young Women in the Know play a vital role attracting new talent to the business, increasing our talent pool, and ensuring young people across the region have the skills and experience they need to pursue successful careers in engineering."Annabelle Ng, aged 16, said, "Before I took part in the course, I thought engineering was all about men in overalls, physical labour – dirty work, and male-dominated. This course has definitely has changed my views, as the plants are so clean and there are women everywhere."

Promoting engineering in schools

As part of its programme to promote engineering careers and support the national STEM agenda, JLR has worked with other automotive, engineering and academic organisations to develop a series of national ‘challenge’ projects for schools. These help to bring science and technology subjects to life, providing pupils with hands-on projects that enable them to explore different aspects of the automotive industry in an exciting way. They also help young people to develop communication, teamwork, project management and ICT skills.The Jaguar Maths in Motion Challenge is an annual competition for children aged nine and upwards. They work together in small teams, using a wide range of maths skills to design and race virtual cars.This is the largest and most successful maths challenge of its kind in the UK; more than a million young people have participated since its launch in 2000. In 2015, the challenge was launched globally through the cloud. Children from countries that included Australia, China and Sweden competed in online races for a place in the world final.Operated in partnership with the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), construction equipment manufacturer JCB, STEM, education consultant Denford, and several leading engineering and education organisations, Land Rover’s 4x4 Challenge is an annual competition for students aged 11–19 to design and build a radio-controlled four-wheel-drive model vehicle.In 2015/16, 116,000 young people took part. Participants can be accredited through schemes such as CREST (the British Science Association’s flagship programme for young people) and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.September 2015 saw the global launch of the 4x4 Challenge. Teams from as far afield as Australia, the USA and South Korea competed in national challenge competitions, and the best teams from 13 countries met in Coventry for the world final.The Jaguar Primary Schools Challenge, for school pupils aged from five to 11, involves designing and manufacturing the fastest car possible in either 2D or 3D. In 2015/16, 16,000 young people participated.The programme is run in partnership with Engineering in Motion and several leading engineering and education organisations, including Denford, the IET and STEMNET, which provides resources for students, teachers and professionals.In addition to innovative programmes like these, JLR is involved in a range of initiatives to strengthen its links with schools. Participating in Business Class (a government-endorsed programme run by Business in the Community that partners companies with local secondary schools in areas of high multiple deprivation) provides the opportunity to improve academic achievement locally and promote apprentice and graduate recruitment opportunities, while also offering staff development opportunities and strengthening the firm’s reputation as an employer of choice.JLR has partnerships with schools in Birmingham, Coventry, Staffordshire, Wolverhampton, Kirkby and Liverpool. Each is managed by a JLR employee.Corporate social responsibility programmes focusing on regeneration, education, young people, charity work and the environment are another way in which the business engages its local communities, strengthens its reputation, and offers staff development opportunities.

Nurturing engineers

In another partnership aimed at changing perceptions and encouraging young people to consider careers in engineering and manufacturing, JLR is working with the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) Academy to offer new qualifications based on the real-world skills and experience needed in the advanced engineering industry.Opened in September 2014, the academy now has 400 students. The qualifications it offers, endorsed by industry and enriched by real-life world-of-work experiences and hands-on problem-solving projects, will increase the employability prospects of young people and challenge traditional ways of learning. JLR is also supporting the Solihull Academy for Young Engineers, which opened this September.Dr Ralf Speth commented, "The growth of Jaguar Land Rover can only be sustained if we and our suppliers can find the right people with the right skills. The WMG Academy for Young Engineers is right on our doorstep, and is being led by WMG, which is already at the heart of our collaboration with universities on research and development and developing high-level skills in our workforce."It will help to address very important issues at the beginning of the educational cycle – namely, exciting young people about careers in engineering and developing the pool of talent which we can all rely upon for future generations."Providing work experience is a key element of JLR’s programme to increase interest in the automotive industry. At each of its five sites, the company offers opportunities for young people aged 14–18 to learn about careers in engineering, manufacturing and business-related subjects. Its programme won BITC’s Work Inspiration Award 2013.

Combating unemployment

The Inspiring Tomorrow’s Workforce enhanced traineeship programme offers work experience, training and qualifications to prepare unemployed young people for employment and unlock their potential. JLR sees this as a contribution to tackling the huge social problem of youth unemployment.Participants gain a manufacturing engineering qualification and additional maths and English support. They undertake work experience placements, complete an outwardbound course, and have the opportunity to take part in a community project.The programme has been designed in conjunction with Birmingham Metropolitan College to provide the transferable skills and work ethic required for a lasting career.JLR has engaged more than 100 young people aged 16–24 to date, and runs the programme at various manufacturing sites aligned to recruitment programmes.Jake Bickerstaff, aged 17 when he applied to take part, has four GCSEs and had been looking for work for over a year. Said Jake, "I’ve struggled to find a job because of a lack of experience and qualifications. I started applying for every job I found, but was not getting anywhere. I’ve signed up for Inspiring Tomorrow’s Workforce because I think the experience will make me stand out in the future and give my CV an edge. It’s a great way to get into engineering and finding out more about Jaguar Land Rover."Jake has now worked at the Solihull plant for three years, alongside several other trainees.The Inspiring Tomorrow’s Workforce programme was launched in Itatiaia in 2015. It is the first programme of this kind that the company has deployed outside the UK. Of the more than 100 people who have completed the scheme so far, 12 are working at the Itatiaia plant and many others are employed elsewhere in the automotive industry.Débora Esteves completed the programme last year and is now a product coach at the new plant. She said, "I thoroughly enjoyed the programme, and it gave me the opportunity to learn many new skills. I believe that, without Inspiring Tomorrow’s Workforce, I would not be working at Jaguar Land Rover today."

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