Jaguar Land Rover has announced 1,700 new jobs for Britain in a £1.5bn investment - but the firm says it is crying out for more engineering talent to come forward.
With a new engine manufacturing plant about to go live in Wolverhampton and hundreds of jobs on offer at its Solihull facility, Jaguar Land Rover says it is desperate for more engineers to fill the roles.
"People forget that Britain is a very successful manufacturing country - they forget that we really do make stuff here," Jeremy Hicks, the firm's UK managing director, told AOL Cars in an exclusive interview at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
"And it's not just us making cars in Britain. Nissan, Honda, Toyota and Mini all make cars here and it won't be long before we start smashing the car production records set in the heyday of the British car industry.
"But we need new engineering talent. We need younger people to opt for engineering as a career to fill these roles we are creating for Britain."
In the last three years Jaguar Land Rover has created an incredible 11,000 jobs in the UK. The 1,700 announced at Solihull today is on top of the 6,000-strong workforce that already earns a living at the facility.
Hicks explained that one of his dealers in Scotland has to compete for technicians with the oil companies based there - and has been forced to head to Poland for recruitment.
"The dealer in question has been forced to look to Poland for its technicians because locally there is no one with the correct skills," said Hicks. "They have the expertise and the desire to move and the dealer puts them through English lessons as a benefit."
Although he wouldn't say whether the same would be needed for the 1,700 jobs announced for the car manufacturing plants, he wouldn't rule out looking abroad for the workforce if the factories couldn't find the right people.
It's clear JLR is a fantastic success story for the UK - sales are up 16 per cent worldwide this year, according to CEO Dr Ralf Speth.
"This investment is a commitment to the United Kingdom," he said. "We are proud to promote British design and world class engineering."
Prime Minister David Cameron echoed these sentiments, commenting: "The creation of 1,700 new jobs from this £1.5 billion investment by Jaguar Land Rover is fantastic news for Solihull and a huge vote of confidence in the UK. This investment will also deliver another 24,000 jobs in the supply chain – on top of the 1.3 million the private sector has already created since 2010.
"Our motoring industry is world class – right out there at the front of the global race – and Jaguar Land Rover is a great example of that British excellence. One vehicle rolls off a production line somewhere in the UK every 20 seconds and the government's automotive industrial strategy will help to continue this success for years to come."
But what about those Indian owners? Many people don't like the fact the British company's profits flow back to its parent owners, Tata, in India.
Hicks added: "We are proud to be a British company. We have a British-based board and, yes investment comes from India, but that's no different to raising money anywhere in the world.
"What's important is the amount of people that are employed in the UK by JLR - that is money flowing directly back into the UK economy. And very soon, even more people will be employed as a direct result of our success."
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