Jaguar purrs again as Shropshire businesses support each other out of lockdown

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As businesses begin to reopen across the county, three local companies have seen how support can come full circle. 

James Worthington, Managing Director of Telford firm MyWorkwear, was in Bridgnorth this week to collect his renovated Jaguar XK8 from Classic Motor Cars Ltd. 

However, this was not just any regular car collection; it is part of an unofficial Shropshire network, where companies are working together to support the next generation of engineering talent, as well as one another through recommendations. 

The local entrepreneur had been supplying personalised workwear to In-Comm Training’s three academies and supporting it with several STEM-related projects, including the University of Wolverhampton’s race team.

It was during this relationship that he found out about a new Heritage Engineering Technician apprenticeship being offered at In-Comm’s Marches Centre of Manufacturing & Technology (MCMT) facility in Bridgnorth in partnership with nearby Classic Motor Cars Ltd.

This three-year course combines classroom teaching and on-the-job training to equip apprentices with the skills and knowledge they need to restore classic cars, vintage racing and commercial vehicles.

“I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the relationship between MyWorkwear, In-Comm Training and Classic Motor Cars than the Heritage Engineering apprentices bringing my Jaguar XK8 back to life,” explained James. 

“It’s fantastic being involved with the future generation of the industry via the apprenticeships and STEM schemes we support. When I was their age, the Jaguar XK8 was my dream car and today, almost 25 years on, that dream has come true. I am hoping in years to come we will see the dreams of these young apprentices come true as well, and if that’s owning a classic car, I wonder what that will be - electric, self-drive, or another new idea we are yet to see?”  

He continued: “I am a big believer in working closely with other local businesses, and I would encourage other companies to see how they can work together, particularly during this time, so we can help the Shropshire economy bounce back.

Nigel Woodward, Managing Director of Classic Motor Cars, added his support: “Having been involved with In-Comm and MCMT for several years, it was a pleasure for my team to work on James’ dream car. It shows how companies working together can be a beneficial way of driving business and supporting the future of UK engineering.”  

The Heritage Engineering Technician apprenticeship is delivered at MCMT’s 36,000 sq ft facility in Bridgnorth, just a stone’s throw away from Classic Motor Cars, one of the UK’s leading restoration specialists.

Learners are taken through the fundamentals of vehicle construction and technology, servicing and diagnosis of heritage vehicles and familiarisation with obsolete technology and systems.

They will also be trained in more modern manufacturing techniques, such as mechanical, electrical skills, CNC machining and metrology to help them develop heritage components through reverse engineering.

Bekki Phillips, Managing Director of In-Comm Training, concluded: “This is an emotional project for James, bringing together his love of cars, the local area and growing manufacturing talent. 

“Our apprentices have enjoyed putting their learning to the test and delivering a restoration that will give the owner many years of enjoyment.”

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