It's a mixed bag of news this month that makes us want to cheer for the heroes on the one hand, and redouble our efforts to be part of the solution on another.
In the happy corner, JCB's exciting Early Careers programme for 2023 is officially live - great news for a lot of future engineers, designers, purchasing, marketing and other professionals. But in other news, challenges remain in ensuring gender parity in FTSE 250 Boards, with a pretty damning report revealing that many companies' leadership demographics may not be all they seem. And there are going to be challenges for UK schools to get on track teaching AI engineering skills: something that UK PLC will sorely need in the years to come. Read on for the most eye-catching stories of November!
Jaguar Land Rover CEO to step down
JLR CEO Thierry Bolloré is stepping down from his role less than two years after arriving at the Gaydon-based company. He will officially depart on 31 December 2022, for what have been described as personal reasons. CEO responsibilities have already been assumed by chief financial officer Adrian Mardell, who has been at the firm since 1990 and joined the company board in 2019.
Bolloré's departure comes less than two years after he announced JLR’s 'Reimagine' transformation plan, which focused on electrifying the product line-up, decarbonising its operations and boosting the quality of the cars it builds.
JLR narrowed its losses to £173 million in the third quarter of 2022, compared with £302m in the same period last year, but a huge surge in demand for its new Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models put a strain on its restricted production capacity.
Updates to Formula E season 9 regulations include Attack Charges
Formula E and the FIA has announced a series of updates to the sporting regulations for Season 9 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship following approval by the FIA World Motor Sport Council.
Both bodies have been working with strategic technology partners to develop pioneering battery and charging capabilities that will allow the new smaller, faster and lighter Gen3 cars to receive a boost of energy, known as Attack Charges, during the race.
The collaboration has resulted in the development of a battery capable of receiving 4kWh of energy inside 30 seconds (the most advanced EV battery in the world today) delivered by a 600kW booster. A mandatory 30-second Attack Charge stop during a pre-determined period in the race will unlock two enhanced Attack Mode periods to be deployed later in the race where the power output of the Gen3 race cars will increase from 300kW to 350kW. Attack Charge is set to be trialled at select races later in Season 9.
Manufacturing & Technology
Celtic Freeport holds vast potential for Wales’ net zero economy
A Welsh freeport focused on green energy would create thousands of new jobs and generate billions of pounds of new investment, according to a consortium of backers for the project.
Associated British Ports (ABP), Neath Port Talbot Council, Pembrokeshire County Council and the Port of Milford Haven has submitted a formal bid to UK and Welsh government officials for the Celtic Freeport, with the result of the bid to be announced in the first quarter of 2023.
Members behind the Celtic Freeport said a freeport status in South West Wales focused on renewable energy would deliver an accelerated pathway for Wales' net zero economy, create over 16,000 new jobs and generate up to £5.5 billion of new investment. The bid covers the ports of Milford Haven and Port Talbot and spans clean energy developments and innovation assets, fuel terminals, a power station, heavy engineering and the steel industry across south west Wales.
Why Britain may struggle to fill the jobs of the future
Demand for jobs that require skills in artificial intelligence and machine learning is estimated to rise by 40% over the next five years - but the UK risks falling behind if schools aren't given the resources needed to teach them.
Research by Capital Economics suggests teaching AI skills in secondary schools may help fill rising demand for computer science and other such roles, supporting an average of £71bn of economic output annually to 2030.
According to YouGov, 72% of secondary school teachers support making an active effort to increase education and resources around AI and computer science. Without it, 75% fear long-term skill gaps. But among STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) teachers surveyed, 64% had limited access to computer science resources - rising to 79% when focused on AI. We live to help solve challenges like this, and have already filled roles described within this list.
Executive & Leaders
Survey highlights lack of female executives in UK boardrooms
An annual Cranfield University and EY report has found what it describes as an “appalling” lack of females in executive roles in the UK. About 40% of directorships in FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 companies are held by women, but the report suggests the numbers are misleading and driven by boards appointing female non-executive directors (NEDs) to comply with Women Leaders Review targets.
Out of 413 directorships held by women across the FTSE 100, just nine were CEOs, 18 were chairs and 377 were NEDs. The number of women in NED roles in the FTSE 100 has increased by 15 per cent over the past year, whereas women in executive directorships increased by just 3 per cent to 36.
Sue Vinnicombe, professor of women and leadership at Cranfield School of Management and lead author of the report, said: “Just having women in NED roles is not sufficient to have an impact on the executive pipeline...for real change to happen, women simply must be in the significant decision-making roles of CEO and chair.”
Also in Executive news this month, Myenergi co-founder Jordan Brompton has been named Great British Entrepreneur of the Year at a prestigious event aimed at recognising top business talent. Brompton is the sales and marketing force behind the suite of eco-tech products manufactured in Grimsby.
Learn more: business-live.co.uk
JCB to recruit over 150 apprentices and graduates
Staffordshire-based digger giant JCB has opened applications for the 2023 intake of its renowned Early Careers programme, with competition expected to be fierce after more than 2,000 people applied for places last year.
Opportunities for 2023 include graduate careers in Design and Development, Future Technologies, Electrical and Controls, Software Development and Sales and Marketing. There will also be degree apprenticeships in Business and Engineering alongside Level 3 apprenticeships in areas such as Manufacturing Engineering, Purchasing, Mechatronics and business-wide technician opportunities. Level 2 assembly and welding apprenticeships will be offered for recruits from age 16+, while the company will be partnering with The JCB Academy to offer new T-Level qualifications. JCB has invested more than £8 million in developing its Early Careers Programme, and since 2008 more than 1,300 people have joined the company through the scheme.