Investment key to keeping UK car industry workforce best in Europe

by James Attwood, Autocar UK 27 Nov 2018

The workforce in the British automotive industry is the most adaptable in Europe, according to a new report - but the boss of Toyota Motor Europe’s London office says action is needed to address skills shortages and boost investment in research and development following Brexit.

The report by the Automotive Council, a partnership between the automotive industry and government, surveyed the workforce of UK automotive companies using eight key performance indicators, to rank how attractive the UK is for car firms to invest in compared with other countries.

The UK finished in top position in Europe, and second overall behind the US, with strong labour relations, the willingness of workers to adapt to changing markets and flexibility in work patterns all cited as key advantages.

However, the report did cite several risks to future competitiveness, including the shortage of skilled engineers, the level of government investment into R&D and the possible decline of political stability following Brexit. It said that it was essential to attract and develop new skills so that the UK industry can lead the shift to electrification, autonomy and digitisation.

Tony Walker, Toyota Motor Europe’s London office boss and chair of the Automotive Council’s business environment and skills group, said the report showed how the UK industry’s workforce “helped drive the sector’s success”.

He added: “We have a hard-won reputation for developing and making high-quality, cutting-edge vehicles, engines and components, supported by strong collaboration with government through the Automotive Council.

“During this period of profound change, that collaboration will be more important than ever. The focus now must be on attracting and nurturing the right skills to meet our ambitions, and on securing a Brexit deal that delivers the political stability needed to attract future investment.”

Also read: Brexit: what it means for the British car industry

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