February’s news round-up paints a representative picture of UK industries in a state of flux. From alarming news about the huge gender disparity that still exists among engineering and tech students and job cuts at Ford as the brand transitions to an almost-entirely electric strategy, to good news for the UK’s future in battery manufacture and hydrogen power – it’s all here. Read on!
Ford to axe thousands of jobs in Europe
Ford has announced it will be scrapping 3,800 jobs across Europe, including 1,300 in the UK, over the next three years. The carmaker says the job cuts are part of its move to reinvent the brand across Europe and secure a profitable future. Though this is hardly welcome news, it will at least mean a lot of available UK talent for growing automotive businesses.
As part of the changes, 2,800 engineering jobs will be axed by 2025, with 1,000 sales, marketing and distribution jobs in Europe also going. The brand says the losses will create a leaner, more competitive cost structure as it moves towards a smaller, more focused and increasingly electric product portfolio.
Honda already approached by teams over 2026 F1 engine deals
Honda has been weighing up its options to remain in Formula 1 and says it has been approached by a number of teams about a 2026 engine deal. The brand is one of six manufacturers to have registered an interest in producing engines for the new regulations that begin in that year.
Honda Racing Corporation president Koji Watanabe has said the company remains 'curious' about F1's direction, as dialogue had opened with teams about a potential deal. "Formula 1 is greatly shifting towards electrification, and carbon neutrality is our corporate-wide target at Honda," he said. "We think that F1's future direction is in line with our target, so that is why we have decided to register as the manufacturer of a power unit, ” he said.
Also catching our eye this month in motorsport news, Ford has announced it will return to F1 in 2026. The US carmaker has played a part in 10 constructors’ championships and 13 drivers’ championships – making it the third most successful engine manufacturer in F1 history. It is the appeal of F1’s future engine regulations – including increased electrical power and 100% sustainable fuels – that has attracted one of the Motorsport’s most famous names back to the grid.
Manufacturing & Tech
Australian startup wins bid for collapsed UK battery company Britishvolt
An emerging Australian company will be responsible for delivering on UK hopes to electrify its automotive industry after outbidding rivals to take over collapsed battery maker Britishvolt.
Recharge Industries, which sits under New York-based investment firm Scale Facilitation, beat three other offers to become the preferred bidder to take Britishvolt out of the hands of administrators. According to one person close to the administration process, bidders were particularly interested in Britishvolt’s intellectual property which includes patents, designs, supply chain partners and territorial licences that give the holder a dominant position in the UK.
HVS awarded share of government development fund
UK-based hydrogen-powered commercial vehicle innovator HVS has revealed that the consortium it leads, Hub2Hub, has been awarded £6.6 million to develop and deliver a revolutionary, world-first, autonomous zero-emission HGV for the UK market.
The Hub2Hub consortium will create a self-driving heavy goods tractor unit which will begin vehicles trials in 2024 with ASDA, supporting the retailer with end user needs as a strategic partner. It is hoped that the cost savings an autonomous lorry could provide will speed up the adoption of zero-emissions vehicles by the freight sector, reducing the industry’s contribution to climate change.
We are very proud to support HVS. Visit our partner page to see our HVS vacancies.
Executives & Leaders
Mike Johnstone joins Group Lotus from Volvo Cars
Group Lotus has appointed Mike Johnstone as Vice-President, Commercial, to lead the company’s global commercial operations. The carmaker says his appointment marks the beginning of a new era in the transformation of the Lotus brand, as the company continues the rapid expansion of its model range, grows its international footprint and aims to reach 100,000+ sales by 2028 when the company marks its 80th year.
Mr Johnstone will be responsible for the carmaker’s Sales, Aftersales, Brand and PR functions in a newly-formed global commercial division that will represent all product lines across all territories. He joins the Group from Volvo Cars where he most recently led the global marketing team in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Massive Higher Education gender gap for engineering and tech degrees a cause for concern
A new research report released by EngineeringUK reveals that a massive increase in the number of girls studying maths and/or physics at A level is needed to achieve gender parity in students studying engineering and technology degrees.
Based on the current conversion rate from A Level to undergraduate study, the report extrapolates that around 150,000 girls would need to study A levels in maths or physics (or both), in order to achieve parity with male undergraduates: an increase of around 115,000 girls compared to current numbers. It also reveals that 23% of male students who studied A levels in maths or physics (or both) went on to study engineering and technology in higher education, while just 8% of female students who took the same subject(s) went on to study engineering and technology degrees.
Dr Claudia Mollidor, Head of Research and Evaluation at EngineeringUK, comments, “With the UK challenged to meet net zero by 2050, there is an urgent need for more young people to enter into engineering and technology careers. However, at present just 16.5% of the engineering workforce are female.”