Oxford Mini looks to Swindon for skilled workers

Oxford’s Mini plant at work

Oxford’s Mini plant at work

First published in News Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , @BerenCross

MINI is trying to attract technicians from Swindon to work at its Oxford plant for the first time while drawing up plans for scores of new jobs at its Swindon factory later this year.

The car manufacturer is offering a salary worth more than £40,000 to attract experienced maintenance associates, who have worked in a high volume manufacturing environment.

This will be the first time Mini has advertised in Swindon for workers to join its Oxford plant in Cowley. Mini is hoping it will capitalise on the experience of former Honda staff in the town.

The BMW Group is currently going through a period of significant growth, with £750m of investment currently being rolled out for the new Mini Hatchback at Oxford, and a factory in the Netherlands also set for production from this summer.

There could also be vacancies to on the core workforce at the Swindon plant, where most of Mini’s body pressings are manufactured.

Extra pressings will be needed to feed production at the new Dutch plant in Born, and as a result, more staff.

A Mini spokesman said: “The Oxford plant is moving to a three-shift operation and we need more people to manage that increase.

“We believe there are people in Swindon with the skills we need and used to the workings of car manufacturing interested in travelling to Oxford in the future.

“The process of recruiting the core workforce has been going on for some time, but we are talking about maintenance personnel here.

“I am not sure how far we have pushed on the maintenance side in Oxford.

“I recognise we are talking about Swindon because there will be the skills base there.”

Last month, the BMW Group, which owns Mini, agreed a contract with VDL Nedcar to produce the new Mini Hatch from the summer. The agreement was reached because operations are working at their maximum in Oxford.

Plans are still being drawn up as to what this new Dutch operation will mean for the Swindon plant in terms of a final number on opportunities and what jobs these will be, but the vacancies are coming.

“Cars will start being produced in the Netherlands at a slow rate in the summer, but these will ramp up as the year goes on,” the spokesman said. The pressings this factory will use will come from Swindon and this means growth for the Swindon plant.

“Over the next couple of years, in order to achieve the output desired at Nedcar, we will need more people. We are still working on an understanding as to what this means in numbers, but we are talking tens upon tens of opportunities.”

Heydar Faramarzi, president at Swindon Chamber of Commerce, said: “It is encouraging news that Chamber member BMW MINI Oxford is not only looking for skilled technicians from Swindon but intend to recruit more local people for the Swindon plant due to increased demand for car pressings. Many successful businesses in Swindon tell us that there is a good pool of skilled workers in the area, who are attracted to the quality of life and accessibility of the town.”

 

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