Automotive sector identified as driver of growth in Chichester district
Published 00:00 on 6 Aug 2021
With opportunities for businesses in the automotive industry readily available, and the chance to hire local talent trained by the district's education providers, Chichester's long-running association with the automotive sector is only set to grow in the coming years.
Already home to established, world-renowned, companies including Rolls-Royce and the iconic Goodwood Estate, the district is also where a number of car dealerships both national and independent and specialist workshops for repair and customisation are located.
Employers are supported by the skills provision from the district's educational institutions, with Chichester College's Motor Vehicle and Motorcycle courses allowing students the opportunity to specialise before moving into the workplace. The University of Chichester also offers engineering courses.
Iconic Land Rovers and Range Rovers are being customised within the district, as they are carefully crafted and transformed into bespoke vehicles by luxury designers and engineers Kingsmen Editions and their sister company, Chichester Cars.
Across the UK more than 864,000 people are employed by the automotive sector, which generated more than £100billion in 2019, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Location is likely to be a key decider in where automotive businesses base themselves with an estimated 4,100 cars and 6,100 engines exported worldwide every day and 1,000 cars distributed to UK dealers and 3,600 engines delivered to UK factories. Chichester, with its close proximity to two major port cities in Portsmouth and Southampton, stands out against other UK locations.
Councillor Tony Dignum, Chichester District Council's Cabinet Member for Growth, Place and Regeneration, said: "Some of the UK's most iconic cars have been and continue to be - developed, tested and manufactured in Chichester, and we have a legendary race track right on our doorstep and the opportunity is there for anyone in the sector to become a part of our district's motoring story.
"Plans are underway to increase availability of space for the sector and our University and College are teaching the next generation of technicians, designers, specialists and experts not to mention our location to two of the UK's biggest ports putting you in front of the world.
"We're open for business and ready to put you in the fast lane."
The college is also working in collaboration with a consortium of Sussex-based colleges to establish hybrid and Electric Vehicle technology training centres across the region. This project has taken a step forward thanks to the awarding of multi-million-pound funding from the Department for Education as part of the Strategic Development Fund.
Julie Kapsalis, Managing Director of the Chichester College Group, said: "We are extremely proud of our motor vehicle offer at Chichester College.
"Year on year we are training hundreds of students in important automotive trades, teaching them the skills they need to succeed in the industry.
"We build close links with employers, such as Rolls-Royce, to ensure our courses are meeting their requirements, including developing our apprenticeship programmes to improve the skills of their workforce across a diverse range of disciplines - something that Ofsted highlighted in our Outstanding Ofsted report last year.
"Looking forward, we are very proud to be working with colleagues at colleges across Sussex to be building new centres which will provide skills training to support the future of the industry, such as across electric vehicle and other emerging sustainable transport technologies.
"It is an exciting time for the industry and for those looking to work within it."
The final jewel in Chichester's crown is the Goodwood Motor Circuit, which coordinates a busy schedule of track days and driving experiences, attracting both business and customers all year round. The Estate hosts three annual headline motorsport events the Members' Meeting, Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard and Goodwood Revival attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors to the area. The Festival of Speed is an essential part of the automotive event calendar and, at the 2021 event, Goodwood launched 'Electric Avenue The Road To 2030' presented by Sky Zero, the home of electric mobility at the Festival of Speed. Proving to be one of the most popular exhibits over the weekend, the exhibition showcased an extensive collection of the latest Electric Vehicles, from the diminutive Citroën AMI to the elegant Pininfarina Battista hypercar, enabling visitors to explore the electric transition coming in 2030.
Adam Waterworth, Goodwood's Events Managing Director, said: "This year the Festival of Speed returned to the Goodwood Estate for the first time since 2019 and played a big part in providing a platform for our automotive partners to get in front of customers, whether at the event or joining us online from around the world. We continue to attract the biggest global names from the automotive sector and Goodwood is proud to be playing a part in driving growth in the Chichester district."
Last updated 10:10 on 4 October 2021