Business minister Michael Fallon toured MINI's Oxford plant today, as the iconic manufacturer celebrates its centenary year as a car maker.
Managing director Frank Bachmann and a number of first-year apprentices gave Mr Fallon a tour of the plant including its recently-opened training facilities.
New investment at the factory represents the lion’s share of parent company BMW Group’s £750 million UK investment programme.
This involves the building of an extension to the bodyshop and implementing a raft of technological upgrades to its paintshop and assembly operations.
Mr Fallon said: “It is very encouraging to see BMW Group’s continued investment in production and training facilities at the Oxford plant.
“It is a clear sign that UK manufacturing here, supported by the Government through the Regional Growth Fund, is flourishing. It is also very heartening to see the passion and enthusiasm of the next generation of engineers and apprentices.”
The new training school is being used by apprentices and a number of the plant’s 4,000 employees and contains fully-equipped workshops and classroom areas.
Apprentice Natalie Murray, who is following a three-year engineering course, introduced Mr Fallon to apprentices who’ve been on the scheme for one year.
“Over the last year I have learnt so much, including mechanical principles, hydraulics, pneumatics and electronics. One of our most recent projects has looked at how to build electronic circuit boards, and that’s what we showed the Minister today.
“I’ve always been interested in engineering and the apprenticeship at MINI Plant Oxford is an ideal way to turn theory into hands-on practice and build a career at the same time.”