At the end of each month on our website we’ll feature a roundup of the news that’s grabbed our attention from across our industry. We might not cover all of our sectors every month, but watch this space!
Dyson to build electric car in Singapore
Dyson has announced that it will build its new electric car in Singapore, with the first car likely to leave the production line in 2021. The decision was based on the availability of engineering talent, supply chains and proximity to target markets rather than cost, with Singapore one of the world’s most expensive business and manufacturing territories. The company has committed £2bn to the project, with £200m of this allocated to research and development in the UK.
Despite attracting criticism from some quarters that it won’t be bringing its car manufacturing to its facility in Wiltshire, Dyson does not manufacture any products in the UK and will continue to invest in UK-based R&D for its ventures in the automotive sector.
The firm is currently developing both solid state and lithium batteries and has not declared what kind of battery will be used in its cars, or where they will be developed.
The debate about the impact of Brexit on the availability of foreign talent has thus far tended to focus on the Healthcare sector. But the UK’s exit from the EU could have wide-reaching implications for industries across the board, and our reliance on engineering talent from overseas means the Brexit effect could spill over into Formula 1.
The UK is a hotbed for Formula 1 engineering, with our “Motorsport Valley” acting as a base or partial base for seven of the ten teams. And the industry depends on an annual influx of foreign engineers to maintain the valuable F1 cars.
Businesses seeking to employ foreign workers must apply to the Home Office for a Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship (RCoS) as part of the visa process. These are limited to 20,700 per year, but the Home Office has shown flexibility in aligning restrictions to needs. “Shortage occupations” are given preferential treatment during monthly RCoS applications, but only a few such occupations exist within the automotive sector. Can government help to ensure that the UK remains a hotbed of F1 talent? We hope so. It’s an interesting story to follow.
Manufacturing & Technologies
UK productivity needs a shot in the arm.
The World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Competitiveness report saw the UK slip down a place to eighth in the league tables, and as Brexit looms, we need to do better. Manufacturing and engineering skills are central to our world economic strategy, but we are still experiencing a significant dearth of specialist graduates with key skills in these core areas.
Meanwhile, other skills gaps are emerging; many business leaders are unsure how to exploit emerging technologies, while universities try to plug commercial skills gaps with enhanced modules in a variety of disciplines.
Our situation is further compounded by a relatively low investment in new equipment and technology in comparison to our European counterparts such as France, Germany and Italy. This is partly due to decision-makers’ reluctance to invest in new technology when they lack a highly skilled workforce that could use it.
Manufacturing and engineering businesses can lead the charge in developing emerging skills and making the most of emerging technologies such as robotics and automation, freeing people up to do higher-value work. This is of course something the team at Gerrell & Hard work with our clients to achieve, putting us right at the forefront of emerging technologies and the convergence of old and new industrial strategies.
London could see autonomous ride-sharing by 2021
Oxbotica and Addison Lee Group will collaborate on the development and deployment of autonomous taxi and ride-sharing vehicles in London, in an attempt to collectively earn a greater share of the connected autonomous market - predicted to be worth £28bn by 2035. The partnership represents the coming together of autonomous software development and premium taxi and car services. The suppliers, each a specialist in its area, will create digital maps of over 250,000 miles of public roads down to the minutest detail, ready for the deployment of autonomous cars.
It is hoped that autonomous ride-sharing services will reduce congestion and improve urban air quality through use of zero-emission vehicles. The technology could also be deployed as shuttle-type transportation services to and from airports, corporate businesses and campuses.
Exec & Leaders
Laurels for Dr Palmer
It’s hardly an industry secret that Dr Andy Palmer has been doing great things at Aston Martin Lagonda, so we were delighted to see his work recognised last week when the AML CEO was awarded the highest accolade at the Director of the Year Awards.
The Dr. Neville Bain Memorial Award for Excellence in Director and Board Practice recognises the contribution an individual makes to the culture and success of an organisation through outstanding professionalism and implementation of best practice in governance and leadership.
And it’s richly deserved. Since joining the British luxury marque in 2014, Dr Palmer has delivered effective operational performance and governance of costs and profitability, a strategy that includes a significant new product drive, expansion of the firm’s manufacturing footprint and sustainable growth. Furthermore, the marque made history in 2018 when it became the only truly British car maker to be listed on the LSE.
Exciting times for a much-loved brand.
Barclays graduate job application fund provides boost to jobseekers
We were impressed with Barclays Bank’s Graduate Fund, announced earlier this month and open to applicants from 8th until 19th October. The bank set up a fund of £20,000 to help 2018 graduates find a job: each could apply for up to £550 from the fund to finance the costs typically associated with graduate job applications, such as training, travel and clothing.
The bank took this step after its own research revealed that more than half of graduates decline interview offers because, already burdened with huge student debt and the rising cost of living, they can’t afford to attend, with a majority of employers failing to help subsidise travel or related costs.