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Black Country Business Festival celebrates JLR factory growth

By Simon Penfold | Wolverhampton | Business | Published:

Workforce numbers at Jaguar Land Rover's £1billion engine factory in Wolverhampton have now grown to around 1,800, it has been revealed.

Guests tour Jaguar Land Rover’s engine manufacturing centre as part of the Black Country Business Festival

Just six years after ground was broken on the i54 site for the ambitious scheme, it now extends to more than 2 million sq ft, producing all the Ingenium petrol and diesel engines for JLR's cars made here in the UK, as well as to the company's plants in Brazil, India and Slovakia.

A tour of the factory for 24 lucky members of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce yesterday has been one of the highlights so far of the Black Country Business Festival.

Warne Munn hosted the tour

It is one of more than 120 events taking place over the fortnight-long festival, showcasing the commerce, culture and innovation of the local area.

These events range from workshops aimed at helping companies get more out of new technology and the internet to more social activities such as tonight's Stand-Up Challenge at Molineux, when a group of intrepid business people will take up the microphone to try their hands at live comedy.

Wolverhampton council took the opportunity last night to showcase its own ambitions to regenerate the city, with an exhibition at the Art Gallery.

Guests tour Jaguar Land Rover’s engine manufacturing centre as part of the Black Country Business Festival

At Merry Hill, shopping centre owner intu was talking about its plans to double the amount of leisure and restaurant space as it develops the site into a major complex over the coming years.

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And at Dudley Army Reserve Centre, a business called Forces Recruitment Services was talking to firms about how hiring ex-forces personnel can help them plug their skills gap.

Among the success stories of the festival so far, a Careers Speed Networking session at Wolverhampton Racecourse brought together more than 100 business delegates well over 200 students.

Organised by the Black Country Chamber of Commerce, Black Country Skills Factory and Careers and Enterprise Company, it served as an ideal platform for local businesses to enlighten young people as to the array of career opportunities available to them.

Matt Hyde, HS adviser at foundry group Thomas Dudley, said: “The Careers Speed Networking event was a thoroughly great event. Having engaged the students, I left the event knowing our future is in good hands thanks to the work that the Chamber is doing with schools.”

One student in attendance added: “I am so glad I have had the opportunity to talk to a range of business people, as I have taken away some very important information and advice that I will cherish."

The festival runs until May 4. For information about events or to secure tickets go to www.blackcountrybusinessfestival.com

Simon Penfold

By Simon Penfold
Business Editor - @SPenfold_star

Business Editor based at the Express & Star's head office in Wolverhampton, looking for stories big & small.

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