17 new apprentices join Lotus

Lotus has recruited 17 new apprentices, with another eight to join by the end of the year, to work across all divisions of manufacturing – inclusive of trim, paint shop and vehicle assembly – as part of its largest apprenticeship scheme to date.

The 17 new apprentices are supported by the training specialists Poultec Training Limited and bring the total number of staff working at Lotus to 1137, with another 85 staff to be recruited by the end of 2015. The majority of these new staff are focusing on increasing the production of Lotus sports cars including the new Lotus Evora 400 and the latest versions of the Elise and Exige.

Jean-Marc Gales, chief executive officer for Group Lotus plc, explained, ‘A number of our staff who now hold senior management positions at Lotus started out as apprentices. A solid education in engineering and manufacturing is the perfect starting point for a successful career in the automotive industry. Through this apprentice scheme, we aim to provide opportunities and seek to tap into the rich pool of local talent to foster the next generation of Lotus employees.’

Neale McArdle, training director, Poultec Training Limited said, ‘We are delighted to be working with Lotus to deliver the Apprenticeship Programme. The strength of our relationship will undoubtedly benefit the programme and, of course, the apprentices themselves.’

On the back of the recent launch of the much anticipated Lotus Evora 400 and new versions of its iconic models Elise and Exige, demand for Lotus cars has grown, with a 55% increase in global sales (FY 2014/15 compared to FY2013/14). This has been coupled with an increase in the number of Lotus dealers the world over during the last 15 months – from 138 to 193.

Lotus has been recruiting for sports car production ramp up with the target of 225 new staff to join Lotus by the end of 2015. So far, over 140 staff have joined the Lotus manufacturing operation at Hethel. Combined with the recent introduction of 11 new engineering graduates, Lotus moves closer towards the target of employing 1,222 people by the end of 2015.

In recognition that skilled workers are essential to the growth of the economy, the UK Government has a target of creating 3,000,000 apprenticeships starts by 2020. At a local level, the Apprentices Norfolk Network (ANN), a service provided by Norfolk County Council, supports local business and providers to maximise opportunity and effectiveness. Lotus’ future business objectives are in parallel with this and the company actively seeks to support young people by offering a viable alternative to full-time education with on the job training and mentorship.