British luxury supercar maker McLaren is on the hunt for some unexpected recruits for its new £50m innovation and manufacturing facility in Rotherham.
Applicants with experience in a wide variety of sectors, from boat-building to the textiles trade and sporting good industries, are being encouraged to apply for the next wave of jobs, apprenticeships and degree apprenticeships that will help double the workforce at McLaren Composites Technology Centre (MCTC) to more than 200 by the time it is in full productive next year.
Those skills are required because materials like carbon fibre start life as a fabric that has to be cut and put into moulds before being treated through a variety of processes before becoming a hard material.
The MCTC aims to be a world-leader in innovating lightweight composite materials.
Lighter, composite materials, together with future powertrain technology, will save vehicle weight, boost performance and provide more energy-efficient supercars.
McLaren has been a pioneer with ultra-lightweight, ultra-strong carbon fibre material for decades and builds every car with a carbon fibre chassis, or ‘tub’, at its core.
The new roles that are set to be phased in next year will all help to make the next generation of McLaren carbon fibre tubs that will then be sent to the company’s McLaren Production Centre, around 170 miles away in Woking, Surrey.
There, the rest of the cars – including powertrain, gearbox, body panels, electrical systems, wheels and Pirelli tyres – will be added by hand before being exported to more than 32 territories around the world.
McLaren’s ability to tap into the Sheffield City Region’s extensive materials expertise, skills and universities will help it to innovate quickly and continue to be the lightest in their class.
The target is that the MCTC will deliver £100m of gross value-added benefit to the local economy by 2028 as well as supporting skills development in the region.
Well over 90% of just over 4,800 cars made last year by the firm were exported, meaning the new South Yorkshire recruits will get to work on some of the most advanced and admired cars in the world.
The announcement of the new roles comes a year to the day since the MCTC, built on the regenerated site of a former opencast coal mine, was officially opened by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Bahrain, alongside McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt.
Mike said: “As we’re working with advanced, lightweight materials in new ways that have never been used before on this scale for car production, McLaren is looking for a range of skills you wouldn’t normally associate with the automotive industry.
“We’re also looking to hire apprentices and degree apprentices. The advanced technologies and processes they will be working on could one day be used in other industries to produce lighter, and therefore more efficient, vehicles which will not only help McLaren to continue to innovate, but the UK to become a global leader in composite materials expertise.”