The anniversary of a major new training institute is proof that Coventry, Warwickshire and the wider region is set to emerge from the limbo of Brexit in a strong position in the manufacturing and automotive industries.
The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce hosted its first business intelligence briefing of 2020 at the MIRA Technology Institute (MTI) – a £9.5 million training facility for the next generation of automotive engineers.
The training facility is a collaboration between North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (NWSLC), HORIBA MIRA, Coventry University, Loughborough University and Leicester University and was paid for by the UK Government’s Growth Fund via the Leicester and Leicestershire LEP.
It is situated on the wider HORIBA MIRA site, located on the border between Warwickshire and Leicestershire, which is the home of around 40 companies, as well as offering world-class research, development and test facilities to the automotive sector.
The event – which was attended by Strategic Partners and Corporate Members of the Chamber – heard the latest economic updates from Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Chamber; Marion Plant, principal and chief executive of NWSLC; and Declan Allen, managing director of HORIBA MIRA.
Marion explained how the Institute engaged with businesses in the automotive sector to ensure that training courses matched the needs of employers in the industry.
She said that in its first year, 360 learners had attended accredited courses which was part of a total of 5,590 total learners who had studied at MTI.
Declan told the audience how HORIBA MIRA was a unique facility globally in what it could offer to the automotive sector.
He said there was huge potential and capability across the UK – but especially in the Midlands – to help lead the way when it comes to the future of automotive including autonomous and electrification of vehicles.
Louise said that the region had proved time and again that it is a great place to do business and that the early indications were that companies had started 2020 in positive mood.
She said: “Our final Quarterly Economic Survey of 2019 suggested that the economy was a little bit flat for a variety of reasons, particularly the political uncertainty.
“What we are hearing from companies as we begin 2020 is that orders are starting to come in and decisions that had been put on hold are now starting to be made.
“In the short term, we have events such as the Budget and Brexit negotiations to watch closely and we will lobby Government on behalf of members to get the best possible deal for business.
“And, in the medium to long term, it’s vital that our region makes the most of these huge opportunities in the future innovation of the automotive sector. HORIBA MIRA and the MIRA Technology Institute are very much part of that with a host of other companies and organisations across the region such as UKBIC, MTC, LEVC, Jaguar Land Rover, Geely, Aston Martin, the University of Warwick, Coventry University and a range of companies in the supply chain.
“There is no doubting that we have the skills, the expertise, the knowledge, the location and the business base to be at the forefront of this revolution in the industry.”