2020 may be a year many of us will choose to forget, but our pick of the news from across our markets in the last month shows the pandemic hasn’t prevented success, green shoots, or the relentless innovation that drives the UK’s engineering, manufacturing and technology sectors.
We hope you have a restful holiday – and here’s hoping for a bright and happy 2021.
Williams names former McLaren boss Jost Capito as new CEO
The rebuilding of an iconic British F1 brand continues apace, as Williams Racing appoints Jost Capito as its new CEO, and confirms Simon Roberts as its permanent Team Principal. New owners Dorilton Capital took over from the Williams family in August of this year, and have since been restructuring in a bid to propel the team to greater success.
The German Capito has four decades of motorsport and automotive experience, and will take responsibility for the day-to-day running of the company from the start of February 2021. He will report to Williams Chairman Matthew Savage who said, “Jost understands the Williams heritage and will work well with the team in pursuit of our objective to return to the front of the grid.”
New intakes and new degree for JLR
Jaguar Land Rover is looking for up to 300 new apprentices, undergraduates and graduates to join the business in September 2021. The carmaker has unveiled a new engineering degree apprenticeship in partnership with the University of Warwick in a move to further invest in the future skills of its workforce so that it can remain at the forefront of UK automotive engineering. JLR is already the largest provider of automotive apprenticeships in the UK, accounting for about 50% of the schemes within its sector.
The degree will mean early career-stage employees can earn a salary while learning, without paying tuition fees—and will be equipped to contribute in the brand’s future strategy in autonomy, electric propulsion and connectivity.
Britishvolt goes big
Battery technologies investor and UK start-up Britishvolt has selected a site in Blyth, Northumberland to build Britain’s first battery gigaplant. The 95-hectare site represents a total investment of £2.6bn, with construction likely to begin in the summer of 2021.
Aiming to produce over 300,000 world-class lithium-ion batteries for the UK automotive industry, the site will be strategically important in accelerating the UK’s place on the world stage in electrification. It will employ up to 3,000 skilled people by 2027, creating 5,000 jobs in the wider supply chain. It is hoped the site will be producing batteries by the end of 2023.
SPOTY crowns wonder-year for Hamilton
Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton has been voted 2020’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year. It’s the crowning achievement of arguably the greatest year ever enjoyed by a Formula 1 driver. It’s the second time Hamilton has won the award, having first scooped the prize in 2014, and he’s a four-time runner up, most recently just last year. In a season of landmarks, the British great has now recorded the most pole positions, the most Grand Prix wins, won 11 of the year’s 17 Grands Prix, and achieved three further podium finishes.
Volta and Petit Forestier in major partnership
Volta Trucks has announced a major partnership with Europe’s leading refrigerated truck rental company, Petit Forestier Group. The two companies have agreed the sale of 1,000 full-electric Volta Zeros to develop a fleet of zero emission refrigerated vehicles. This is believed to be Europe's biggest sale of full-electric large commercial vehicles to date. The partnership between the two companies will also focus on skills development, technical collaboration and customer support, while the first vehicles will be user-tested in 2021 ahead of the start of production in 2022.
Manufacturing & Technologies
Europe’s largest plant-based food facility to open in UK
Plant & Bean, a developer and manufacturer of high-quality, plant-based food products, has announced that it is set to open Europe’s largest plant-based meat production facility in the UK. The new factory will enable efficient product manufacture and distribution across Europe, helping brands to meet fast-growing demand for plant-based meat.
Located in Boston, Lincolnshire, the 65 acre / 263,000 m2 site, will have a planned initial capacity of 55,000 tonnes, and will provide sub-scale companies, larger international brands and retailers with a fully-certified European manufacturing platform to help them meet growing demand for plant-based meat products and accelerate international expansion.