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The MIRA Technology Institute was delighted to host more than 70 leading figures from the automotive industry as part of a special event designed to celebrate the achievements of the sector. Representatives from companies including BMW, Bosch, Geely LEVC, Ricardo and TATA Technologies attended the Coventry & Warwickshire Automotive Dinner last month.

Keynote speaker, Jeff Pratt, managing director of the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) outlined how the UK’s ambitions for supporting a strong and sustainable battery industry will be brought a step closer when the UKBIC opens near Coventry later this year.

The £129 million development will see the creation of a dedicated new facility to develop the latest battery technology and will provide a boost to the UK’s ambition to lead the world in the development of zero emission vehicles as part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy and the Faraday Battery Challenge.

Additional speakers included Tony Harper, Challenge Director of the Faraday Battery Challenge at UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), Derek Benfield, Technical Director at the Envision AESC UK, Adam McGiveron, Partner and Head of Manufacturing at Shakespeare Martineau and Marion Plant, OBE FCGI, Board Director at the CWLEP and Chair of the CWLEP’s productivity and skills business group, who is also Principal and CEO of North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College, and heads up the MIRA Technology Institute board.

Marion Plant spoke about the importance of developing skills for the next generation which is one of the CWLEP’s major priorities and said, “Advanced manufacturing and engineering is one of the key sectors for this region and developments like the UKBIC will increasingly create demand for skills that are new to the industry.

“The MIRA Technology Institute provides a significant opportunity to transform the skills supply, particularly at higher levels, boosting the productivity and earning power of the Coventry and Warwickshire LEP region. The MTI gives us the chance to secure a real step change in the future productivity of the industry locally, regionally and globally. I firmly believe that the MTI represents the future of technical and skills training for the UK.”

The MTI is the result of a unique collaboration led by North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College, and its partners, HORIBA MIRA, Coventry University, the University of Leicester, and Loughborough University. Built with £9.5m investment from the UK Government’s Growth Fund via the LLEP, the MTI is a specialist facility designed specifically to train the next generation of engineers in the latest automotive technology. The MTI is helping to create specialist skills in some of the new disruptive technology areas including electrification and driverless cars.

Since it first opened its doors in 2018, the MTI has welcomed over 5,500 students and delegates. This includes over 360 studying for accredited qualifications from a Level 1 Institute of the Motor Industry certificate up to Masters’ degrees, and nearly 200 following apprenticeships at all levels. It expects to launch a new degree level engineering apprenticeship this year and has had more than 3,000 automotive professionals taking part in professional development activities.

The Coventry & Warwickshire Automotive Dinner was organised by Coventry City Council, Warwickshire County Council and the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), with headline sponsorship this year from Shakespeare Martineau.