Operations Director at Lotus Cars
How has your company engaged with young people and the community to improve the image of manufacturing?
Lotus does a huge amount of engagement with the local community, schools and colleges.
We run weekly factory tours (every Wednesday at 2pm!) and have a variety of people join these tours from Lotus enthusiasts to holiday makers and tourists to schools and colleges. We also run bespoke tours for local schools classes, for example on a specific subject such as applications of physics principles in the real world. We also provide speakers for schools and colleges about Lotus and provide work experience opportunities for 16 year olds still at school – what better way to increase both the excitement and glamour of manufacturing than through sports cars! We are also a chief sponsor for the proposed Norfolk University Technical College which pending government approval will hopefully open up later in the year.
What have you personally contributed to help improve the image of manufacturing?
Personally, the Make it in Great Britain is my first major activity with Lotus. It is vital that we make manufacturing, design and engineering more appealing to the next generation, to demonstrate that manufacturing and engineering is a worthwhile career path – what better way to make an impact in the world than to design and make things! It is human nature! That’s why I’m delighted to back the campaign.
What more needs to be done?
I think that one of the most important things to do is to improve the respect for engineers and manufacturers in society. In many other countries in Europe, an engineer has the same caché as a scientist, doctor, lawyer or dentist does in this country. If you are an engineer in Italy for example you would have a title of “Ing.” and you would be greeted as such. In Britain, however, the term engineer is often used as a synonym for technician or mechanic. Engineering of course is application of scientific principles to the real world so without engineers, life would not be as we know it. Campaigns like Make it in Great Britain help to humanise this story, and make the role of engineers and others in manufacturing more tangible to young people and others in society.