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Industry news roundup - June 2020

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Here’s our roundup of news from the last month! Look after yourselves, and don’t forget to get in touch if you need any career advice or an informed take on our markets!

Automotive

Electric vehicle tech crucial to post COVID-19 economy, says APC.

The Advanced Propulsion Centre’s (APC) ‘Strategic UK opportunities in passenger car electrification’ report argues that with passenger cars requiring some form of electrification by 2030, the technology to achieve this will be crucial to the UK economy in the post COVID-19 era.

The APC believes that in order to achieve the market growth opportunities presented by these technologies, suppliers need to increase their capacity ten-fold in the next five years. Market growth could be in the order of £12bn for batteries, £10bn for power electronics and £2bn for electric machines (such as motors).

With the UK well-placed to deliver the required growth, the APC expects to be funding projects in developing technologies from magnet manufacturing to semiconductors, electric steel and battery components.

Source: theengineer.co.uk

Motorsport

F1’s #WeRaceAsOne campaign to promote diversity

Formula 1 has launched an initiative to coincide with its return to racing, acknowledging the fight against COVD-19 and the need for greater diversity. #WeRaceAsOne is to be a thank you from F1 to keyworkers. It is represented by a rainbow logo incorporating the colours of all F1 teams, which will appear on race cars and around pit garages and race circuits, while a range of rainbow-branded products will be launched by the teams and F1 to raise money for charity.

Meanwhile, F1 will set up a diversity and equality task force in line with a new “racism must end” campaign to be launched at the Austrian Grand Prix in July. F1 announced its commitment to diversity last year whilst launching its 2030 zero carbon sustainability programme. The commitment includes a set of pledges underlining F1’s diversity and equality targets.

Source: autosport.com

Manufacturing & Tech

More than 1 million women in core STEM roles for first time ever.

There are more than 1 million women working in core roles across science, technology, engineering and maths in the UK for the first time ever, according to the Wise Campaign. The number of women in engineering has almost doubled in the last decade – from just over 25,000 to more than 50,000 ­– the campaign group said, as it marked #1ofTheMillion day on the 10th June.

An increase of over 350,000 women in core STEM roles in the last ten years means women make up 24% of the core workforce – a significant increase but with plenty of work still to do. Despite attempts to change the image of engineering in the UK, the sector faces challenges in attracting women, with girls dropping out of engineering education at every level, companies struggling to retain women and calls for increased flexibility and promotions to senior roles.

Source: imeche.org

Future Tech

Wales Preferred Location for Britishvolt's Landmark Battery Gigafactory

Battery manufacturer Britishvolt has announced the down-selection of two promising sites for the UK's first 30-plus GWh gigafactory. 42 sites were being considered, with Wales’s Bro Tathan leading the way.

The UK battery industry could be worth £5 billion by 2025. The demand for lithium ion cells is increasing sharply across a range of industries and applications, and is likely to be constrained as the government attempts to reach its Road to Zero targets by 2050.

Britishvolt will play a key role in fulfilling this need, and in supporting the UK’s drive to lead lithium ion research and development, ultimately creating around 3,500 jobs.

Meanwhile, the company has announced the appointment of seasoned battery industry professional Isobel Sheldon as Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) and Head of the Advisory Board, to support the building of its gigafactory. She brings with her nearly twenty years of lithium ion battery experience and familiarity with the global battery landscape.

Source: prnewswire.co.uk

Executive

Kenneth Gregor, formerly of JLR, joins Aston Martin as CFO

Aston Martin has appointed former Jaguar Land Rover executive Kenneth Gregor as its chief financial officer, in the first of a number of appointments expected by the luxury carmaker’s new owner Lawrence Stroll.

Gregor’s appointment is the latest step in a programme to rebuild credibility among investors as the firm cuts jobs and sports car production while grappling with a first quarter loss and a slump in sales during the pandemic. Gregor has over twenty years of automotive experience and is described by Mr Stroll as a “seasoned financial professional” who helped to grow JLR with “robust financial planning and capital allocation policies.”

Gregor takes over from interim CFO Viki Bhatia and will join incoming CEO Tobias Moers, formerly of Mercedes-AMG, in helming the company.

Source: uk.reuters.com

Grads

Job-hunting advice for pandemic-era graduates, from the class of 2008.

The BBC reports on around 400,000 students who will finish their degrees this year having witnessed career opportunities vanish before their eyes – more drastic but in some mays reminiscent of the class of 2008 who graduated just as the global financial crisis threw the world into recession.

We liked this piece which features some of the class of 2008 and their useful suggestions for those graduating this year. Tips include not fixating on things that don’t work out, being open to opportunities you may not have considered (including non-graduate jobs) and considering how you can sell your digital savvy to employers.

Source: bbc.co.uk