By Business & Innovation Magazine Reporter 21 Jun, 2017

Jaguar Land Rover and the animated band Gorillaz (created in 1997 by rock group Blur frontman Damon Albarn and cartoonist Jamie Hewlett), have joined together to find the next generation of world-class electronics and software engineering talent. They have designed a code-breaking challenge found in the virtual band’s app.

The best performers will be fast-tracked through the recruitment process, helping to meet Jaguar Land Rover’s ambition to employ thousands of bright new talents over the next year. It’s a major change in the way the business looks for candidates, aiming to tackle the engineering skills gap and inspire and attract a diverse range of talent and new thinking.

The Gorillaz App launches a new Jaguar Land Rover recruitment area in the form of a 360-environment in the garage of the band’s home, which also features all the iconic vehicles from Gorillaz past. Here, applicants can explore and take a two-part challenge. The first part, designed to educate users about the benefits of electric vehicles, involves assembling the Jaguar I-PACE Concept, Jaguar's first all-electric five-seater sports car. Users can learn about the vehicle’s performance, battery technology, space, charging and range.

The second and more demanding part of the game, developed to engage and recruit budding electronic wizards and coders, will focus on cracking code in Alternate Reality Game format (ARG). The challenge takes them on a series of code breaking puzzles, that will test their curiosity, persistence, lateral thinking and problem solving skills - all real world attributes of a new generation of software and engineering talent.

Alex Heslop, Head of Electrical Engineering, at Gaydon-based Jaguar Land Rover, said: “As the automotive industry transforms over the next decade, fuelled by software innovation, we have to attract the best talent and that requires a radical rethink of how we recruit. Here we’ve found an engaging way to recruit a diverse talent pool in software systems, cyber systems, app development and graphics performance. It will be the first of its kind.”

The Jaguar I-TYPE, Panasonic Jaguar Racing's all-electric Formula E racecar, appears in the garage. Users can click on a poster of Noodle with the I-TYPE and ‘FanBoost’ which enables them to vote for the @JaguarRacing team drivers to gain a power boost during their next race or to follow @JaguarRacing twitter channels.

The project follows on from Jaguar Land Rover’s STEM initiative with Gorillaz in 2016, where founder member and female guitarist, Noodle, became Jaguar’s Formula E Racing Ambassador. As the UK’s leading investor in research and development, Jaguar Land Rover is putting Noodle at the forefront of its campaign to  address the skills gap that manufacturing worldwide is facing.

The company has used its debut season in Formula E to promote Jaguar Land Rover’s thought-leadership position as a business that is shaping the future to solve the technology innovation and skills gap challenges.

Interested applicants can download the Gorillaz App now at the iTunes App Store ( ) or Google Play ( ).

To find out more about Jaguar Land Rover recruitment, click here . For specific roles in Electrification see:

Traditional application methods remain open and CVs will be accepted, but Jaguar Land Rover invites potential applicants to download the app and break the codes and solve the problems to fast-track their way into employment.


By Business & Innovation Magazine Reporter 02 Jun, 2017
Arc Energy Resources Ltd is proud to announce that it has now joined the small number of elite welding engineering companies certified to BS EN 15085 Class 1. This is the top level accreditation for Welding of Railway Vehicles and Components (CWRVC).

Arc Energy, based in Eastington, Gloucestershire, specialises in the supply of corrosion resistant weld overlay cladding and the manufacture of specialist fabrications, delivered by a highly qualified and experienced team. Established in 1994, Arc Energy has built its reputation in the nuclear, oil & gas, renewable, water & waste water and naval industries based on quality, gaining and retaining an array of accreditations relevant to the industries it supports. This new qualification enables them to provide their excellent service to
the rail industry.

Managing Director, Andrew Robinson, explains: “Arc Energy Resources has vast knowledge and engineering expertise. The company has dedicated Welding Engineering and Project Management teams who take an innovative approach to engineering to find the perfect solution for each project in an effective and efficient manner.”

For more information on Arc Energy go to
By Business & Innovation Magazine Reporter 12 May, 2017
This summer, WMG has 20 places available for manufacturing organisations to host a talented student or graduate to work on a strategic project in their business.

Part funded by the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, WMG’s SME group at the University of Warwick has been delivering this internship scheme since 2010, with over 120 businesses so far benefiting from a range of impactful outcomes.

The scheme encourages students studying STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects to consider careers in the manufacturing supply chain. Coupled with this, it supports SME manufacturers to increase productivity by embedding new technologies and processes into their businesses for minimal cost (£2000 per 8-week project).

One of the companies to benefit last year was Threeway Pressings Ltd. They took on University of Warwick Engineering student James Burt to explore novel manufacturing methods and materials for a particular product that they were sourcing in the thousands from the far east. The project helped to determine how they could manufacture the product in-house and re-shore the product type back to the UK.

Philip Stanley, Director at Threeway Pressings said: “It has been valuable to us to have someone look at a high priority challenge in our business. James was very diligent and his findings useful for the future direction of our business. The results of this project could help us save costs in the business, generate a new income stream, and bring more manufacturing work back to the UK.”

Sado Nuuer, another Engineering student from the University Warwick worked with two of her classmates Lewis Wing and Navid Mehrabi to solve productivity challenges using Lean Six Sigma for three West Midlands based manufacturers – Autins Group, Exactaform Ltd and Precision Technologies Ltd. She said: “What I gained from the internship was how the theoretical knowledge from my course can be applied in practice and also some of the constraints to ideal application. Furthermore, this internship cemented my interest in working in the manufacturing supply chain in the future.”

Dr Mark Swift, CTO of WMG’s HVM Catapult centre said: “Our internship programme acts as a valuable bridge between our students’ academic studies and a future career in the manufacturing industry. Our small manufacturers are able to get access to fresh new thinking, backed up by WMG centre HVM Catapult expertise. This is crucial if we want to tackle the well documented UK skills gap.”

Any SME wanting to register an interest in this scheme or more information about the range of support that WMG offers SMEs in the region should email by 19th May 2017.

What does WMG’s SME internship programme offer?

  • 8-week summer internship based at the host business, starting early July until the end of August
  • 50% of intern costs funded by WMG (intern paid national living wage - £10.14 per hour including holiday pay)
  • SME accesses WMG supervisor and equipment as well as talented student/graduate
  • Administration management provided, including the writing of job specs, advertising the role, setting up interviews and monitoring progress
The interns will be employed by WMG, University of Warwick, for the duration of the project and SMEs will be invoiced £2000 to pay for half of the costs. The intern can be based between both the host SME and WMG.

  • Must be a registered business
  • Must be an SME (an organisation with < £35 million turnover and < 250 employees)
  • Must be a manufacturing organisation in the UK, or deliver activity that adds value to the UK manufacturing supply chain)
In general, projects should relate to the expertise available in the WMG team including manufacturing, materials, product development, digital systems, factory 4.0, and automation.
By Business & Innovation Magazine Reporter 11 May, 2017
With less than 4 months until the opening of Gloucestershire’s newest Science, Technology, Engineering & Manufacturing (STEM) training centre, the team at SGS Berkeley GREEN are busy preparing to launch the new, purpose built facility, which has been designed to meet Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) priorities and address the increasing issues STEM based businesses have recruiting staff with the required skillsets, in addition to up skilling existing workers.

With this in mind, and working in conjunction with Business West, SGS Berkeley GREEN is opening its doors to host a Business Breakfast for the regions STEM based companies on Thursday 1 June between 730am-945am.

The event will have an expert panel on hand to discuss training solutions, how to grow the regional STEM based economy, whilst also considering how to encourage more females into STEM based careers. Already confirmed on the panel are Neil Carmichael, Stroud Conservative Party candidate, Peter Carr, Lead Commissioner – Employment & Skills for Gloucestershire County Council and GFirst Local Enterprise Partnership, Kevin Hamblin, SGS Group Chief Executive and Roman Cooper, Managing Director of Allcooper, with the event facilitated by long-time supporter of skills development within the region and Business West Director, Ian Mean.

The event will be held on the Gloucestershire Science and Technology Park, already home to We Link, Green Fuels and the University of Gloucestershire’s new cyber training facility, within SGS Berkeley Green’s £5 million Engineering Centre and will showcase some of the training facilities that will be available at the site for the Built Environment, Welding, Engineering and Digital Technologies.

George Ridd, Director of Site Director of SGS Berkeley Green comments ‘’Feedback from our Business Forums tells us that employers are struggling to find suitably qualified staff to meet the challenges of growth and development. This event enables us to debate these challenges fully with local companies and key partners plus, most importantly, identify potential solutions. It’s also an opportunity to showcase Berkeley GREEN and the possible partnerships that may exist to help business thrive in the local economy. We look forward to welcoming everyone on the day”

Ian Mean, Director of Business West comments ‘“I believe that the new Berkeley Green training centre will play a major part in developing Gloucestershire’s engineers of tomorrow. These young trainee engineers-girls and boys-will find Berkeley Green a very special learning centre in which to develop the skills that will be vital for manufacturing. These young people with STEM skills will become important cogs in the region’s economy. “It is one of the most exciting employer led projects I have ever seen”.

To register attendance at the Business Breakfast, please contact Liam Evans at: or use the link
By Business & Innovation Magazine Reporter 11 May, 2017
Norbar Torque Tools, a successful and well-known Banbury-based family business, has been acquired by US-based Snap-on Inc.

Snap-on Inc is a leading global innovator, manufacturer and marketer of tools, equipment, diagnostics, repair information and systems solutions for professional users performing critical tasks, acquired Norbar Torque Tools Holdings Ltd along with its U.S. and Chinese joint ventures, (“Norbar”) for around £55 million.

With annual sales of approximately £30 million, Norbar is a leading European manufacturer of a full range of torque products, including wrenches, multipliers and calibrators and has a strong presence in critical industries, including power generation, oil & gas, mining and rail. Snap-on said that the acquisition of Norbar, which will be part of the company’s Commercial & Industrial Group, complements and expands Snap-on’s existing torque offering to critical industries, particularly in powered torque products.

Norbar managing director, Neill Brodey, said: “Norbar is an international business which sells in more than 100 countries and we export 78% of what we make. There are no planned changes to the business and the family will remain on board.”

The results of the Brexit referendum influenced the company’s decision to sell. Norbar had campaigned hard to remain. “Having lost the battle, we looked at our strategy and saw it was going to cost our European customers 10% more to do business with us under a hard Brexit,” said Neill. “This deal offers us the opportunity to grow, especially in the US, so reduces risk.”

Norbar has been a supplier of Snap-on for several years and currently employs around 300 people.
By Business & Innovation Magazine Reporter 11 May, 2017
Britain could build on its position as a modern manufacturing powerhouse if the newly-elected Government commits to a long-term, ambitious industrial strategy, according to EEF, the manufacturer’s organisation.

EEF’s manifesto Making the Future, Making Britain Great urges a new Government to use the opportunity to fully commit to a comprehensive industrial strategy, building on the momentum created by the surge in recent manufacturing performance in recent data including GDP and PMI figures.

The manifesto sets out a programme to boost investment and deliver a more skilled and productive workforce. Measures recommended also include developing a close collaboration between Government and business to strengthen different sectors, and a drive to develop good business practices by giving shareholders a greater say on executive pay and promoting employee engagement in decision-making.

Terry Scuoler, EEF CEO, said: “Manufacturing industry must be at the heart of any new Government’s vision for a strong and successful economic plan for the UK. Manufacturing firms up and down the country represent the best of British business and they need to feel certain that Government is backing them in the face of the complex process of leaving the EU."

In his forward to the EEF’s Manifesto for Manufacturing, Scuoler added: “Elections are always about the future and in choosing a new Government this summer voters will determine the future economic direction of the UK.

“The newly-elected administration will shape the UK economy, our relationship with the rest of the European Union and our place on the global stage. Manufacturing underpins each of these strategic priorities and is key to Britain’s future prosperity. Manufacturers have contributed significantly to the strength and resilience of the UK economy in the past year. Our manufacturing excellence is admired worldwide.

“The agility and inventiveness of our manufacturing companies has helped the UK capitalise on a recovering global economy. This means industry has a high stake in getting the terms of the UK’s exit from the EU right. Manufacturers are part of supply networks that crisscross the European continent, our nearest and most significant market.

“They work with the rules and standards that govern so much of our trade. Disruption would be to our economic detriment. That is why a new government must listen carefully to British manufacturers before and during negotiations on exiting the EU and in discussions on the terms of our future trading relationship.

“With vision a new Government can seize the opportunity to build the foundations of a new industrial future for Britain.”
By Business & Innovation Magazine Reporter 13 Apr, 2017

·         Automotive manufacturers’ investment and job creation plans on course although EU exit still seen as biggest threat to sector

·         Manufacturers to increase investment in R&D in low carbon or electric vehicle technology

·         Automotive firms determined to pursue new international opportunities


The UK automotive industry remains resilient despite ongoing uncertainty presented by the global economy and the UK’s future relationship with the EU, according to new research released by Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

Lloyds Bank’s third annual survey of the UK automotive manufacturing sector and its supply chain analyses the state of the industry today and the opportunities and challenges it faces in the future.

Investment and growth

The research revealed average investment over the next two years is due to hold firm at 19% of turnover while manufacturers are forecasting a 15% growth in turnover over the next two years, up slightly from 14% in the previous report.

Almost four in ten businesses expect growth to come from new product development. While some plan to support growth by investing in infrastructure and pursuing mergers and acquisitions, this fell back significantly on last year, from 43% and 3%, respectively.

EU exit remains biggest threat to UK automotive firms

Almost a third of automotive manufacturers consider the exit from the EU as the biggest threat to supply security over the next two years, while a similar number said that leaving the EU was one of the biggest challenges facing the industry in the next two years.

The weakness of sterling is also a challenge for manufacturers with more than a quarter seeing it as a potential issue. However, more than a third of businesses expect to benefit from a more competitive export environment.

International Opportunities

Automotive firms appear determined to pursue new international opportunities as, over three quarters of firms are investing or planning to engage with new international customers in the next two years.

The number of firms planning to engage new customers in Western Europe rose slightly to 65%, from 61% last year. The number of firms targeting North America grew more strongly, from 46% to 53%

Job creation

The vast majority of automotive manufacturers plan to create new jobs over the next two years. If their plans are replicated across the UK’s automotive manufacturing firms, it would create almost 85,000 new jobs – a figure that remains unchanged year-on-year.

These job creation plans are underpinned by manufacturers’ reshoring activity. The last time the research was carried out 58% of firms said they planned to bring some manufacturing back to the UK within two years, and this grew to 64% this time.

Investment in R&D looks to future-proof sector

Technological innovation will continue to shape the sector over the coming years. Much of this innovation is to help cut vehicle emissions, addressing the fact that 62% of firms thought the 2015 emissions issue had a negative impact on consumer confidence.

UK manufacturers’ commitment to innovation has increased, with firms planning to invest an average of 24% of current turnover into R&D over the next two years, up from 17%.

Firms say this is due to manufacturers’ reinforcing their plans to upskill their staff or change their processes to develop low carbon or electric vehicle technology. This is being pursued by 64% of firms, up from 52% last year.

In particular, 57% of respondents said they had already made moves to develop driverless technology despite the field increasingly being occupied by new competitors such as Google, Apple and Uber.

Download the report HERE
By Business & Innovation Magazine Reporter 13 Apr, 2017

The growth of Aston Martin could have a positive knock-on effect for companies in the supply chain in Coventry and Warwickshire, local businesses have been told.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce held a manufacturing sector networking event at the company’s headquarters in Gaydon and heard from purchasing director Richard Jesson.

He told the gathering of around 40 businesses that the company was investing £500 million and that it was planning to release a new model every nine months through to 2020.

“This could mean big opportunities for you,” said Richard. “We are investing heavily and we will need to find new supply partners.

“Currently, 34% of our suppliers are in the UK and 40% of those are in the Midlands and we’re always looking for the most competitive, receptive and innovative suppliers to work with.

“If those suppliers are local, it can make life easier logistically for us but there are several measures in place and, really, what we want to do is work in partnership with companies.

“We want them to come back to us with suggestions and innovation around products and parts – it is all about forging the right relationships.

“We want to invest in the local community and support the local economy so I would encourage potential suppliers to find out about opportunities available to them.”

Zoe Sweeney, of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, hosted the event and said many companies had already heeded Richard’s words.

She said: “We have relaunched our sector networks on the back of feedback from businesses – they wanted events tailored specifically to their sector and to be able to meet and speak to like-minded business people.

“Aston Martin was the perfect venue to stage our first event and it really was a great success.

“It was extremely positive to hear Richard saying that they are open to hear from local suppliers and I know several business cards were exchanged during the event as many companies were looking to strike while the iron was hot.

“Plans are already in place for our next event and I am sure it is going to be very popular after this great way to get started."

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