LONDON: Britain’s biggest carmaker Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) will hire 5,000 staff as it boosts its skills in autonomous and electric technology, a welcome business endorsement as Prime Minister Theresa May starts Brexit talks after a botched election.
JLR, which employs more than 40,000 people globally, said it would hire 1,000 electronic and software engineers as well as 4,000 additional personnel including in manufacturing, most of whom will be based in Britain.
The recruitment process will take place over the next 12 months, just as Britain begins talks to leave the European Union, which carmakers have warned must result in a deal which retains free and unfettered trade to protect jobs.
The carmaker, which is owned by India’s Tata Motors, will build its first electric vehicle, the I-PACE, in Austria but has said it wants to build such models in Britain if conditions such as support from government and academia are met.
Automakers are racing to produce greener cars and improve charge times in a bid to meet rising customer demand and fulfil air quality targets but Britain lacks sufficient manufacturing capacity, an area ministers have said they want to build up.
JLR, which builds just under a third of Britain’s 1.7 million cars, has said half of all its new models will be available in an electric version by the end of the decade, requiring new skills among its staff.
Sunday’s announcement comes as May is still trying to seal a deal with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party to support her government a week and a half after unexpectedly failing to win an outright majority at a national election.
The news is a welcome bright spot as the prospect of greater political uncertainty before Monday’s start to Brexit talks has seen business confidence tumble in recent days, according to surveys and business groups.