Today, MINI Plant Oxford hosted a visit by careers advisers and teachers from local schools, joined by Business Secretary Vince Cable, as part of a government-industry initiative to highlight careers in manufacturing for young people.
The Business Secretary and the 40 visitors from schools across the county were given the chance to see first-hand the broad range of career opportunities MINI manufacturing has to offer, as well as to gain a deeper insight into the wide-ranging apprentice schemes run at the plant. The Government-supported See Inside Manufacturing initiative underlines the importance of the automotive industry to the UK economy and the range of exciting career opportunities it offers.
Vince Cable commented: “The See Inside Manufacturing programme is an important step in giving teachers and careers advisers the opportunity to see, first hand, the essential role that industry plays across the UK to help us achieve the sort of sustainable and balanced economic growth that the country needs.
“The Government is investing in more apprenticeships than ever before. Together with industry we must inspire more young people to see manufacturing and engineering as a viable and exciting career choice.
“We also need to ensure that UK manufacturing can take on its competitors head on and make the next decade one of the most dynamic and entrepreneurial periods in our history.”
Dr JÃƒ¼rgen Hedrich, managing director of MINI Plant Oxford, said: “The training and development of young people is a vital aspect of our role and responsibility as an employer, and is particularly pertinent as the plant prepares for the next generation of MINI.
“The apprenticeship scheme benefits the business by developing highly-skilled employees that are perfectly matched to our operational needs. Apprenticeships are highly valued by us for the unique blend of knowledge, skills and practical experience they offer. For that reason they are an attractive career path to students considering their future employment options in a manufacturing sector that offers so many exciting possibilities.”
There are 100 apprentices currently working across the company’s production plants in the UK. The training leads to an NVQ level three qualification and apprentices have the opportunity to progress right through to degree level.
Charlotte Jupp, currently in her third year of a Human Resources apprenticeship at MINI Plant Oxford, said: “I am thoroughly enjoying my time at the plant. Not only am I getting a great business education, but I have been privileged to be involved a number of high profile events. I hope my experiences to date will have a positive influence on the visitors today and motivate them to direct more young people into manufacturing.”
BMW Group UK opened up their production plants across the UK to more than 120 careers advisors and teachers as part of the See Inside Manufacturing event.
Earlier this month, the chairman of the board of management of BMW AG, Dr Norbert Reithofer met with Prime Minister David Cameron and announced that the company is investing a further £500m in its UK manufacturing facilities over the next three years.
The investment, the majority of which will be will be used to create new production facilities and equipment at Plant Oxford, will help to safeguard over 5,000 jobs across the three plants in its UK MINI production network (Oxford, Hams Hall, near Birmingham, and Swindon). It takes the company’s investment in the UK to more than £1.5 billion since 2000.