The UK’s West Midlands Gigafactory joint venture has appointed a recruitment expert who says lithium powder mixing is very similar to the chocolate KitKat production at Nestlé. This will facilitate skills transfer.
The business said Steve Doyle is a leading electric vehicle (EV) recruitment company CEO and will become skills ambassador to secure labour in an industry short of skills.
Doyle will be engaged on a consultancy basis and will remain CEO of EVera Recruitment, which claims to be Europe’s only dedicated battery and EV recruiter. He is also an ambassador for STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) Learning, and PhD Careers Advisor for the Faraday Institution.
He said: “In an industry facing skills shortages, we need to implement new recruitment models that can overcome this and succeed – quickly. The skill sets within the gigafactory space are often transferable from the automotive, pharmaceutical or food industries.
“For instance, if you break the production line down into stages and look at the lithium powder mixing section, you quickly realise that it’s very similar to what Nestlé is doing with its KitKat line. Coating sections are very similar to processes in the printing industry. And then for the electrolyte-filling section of the production line, I found a company that was putting soya sauce into sachets for sushi restaurants. These are near-neighbour skills that can be usefully applied for batteries.”
Mike Murray, West Midlands Gigafactory Project Director, said: “It is vital at this stage of our project to assign a leading industry skills ambassador to support the success of our recruitment process in a market facing a skills shortage.
“We are thrilled to have Steve’s guidance and wealth of knowledge to educate the next phase of the project as we look to secure what is most important – the people.”
The site will create up to 6,000 new highly skilled jobs directly and thousands more in the supply chain. It has planning permission in place for a gigafactory with capacity for 60GWh per annum and the potential to become Britain’s largest battery manufacturing facility.
Its head of strategy, Richard Moore, told BEST last month the company is gunning to get into the top three in a European gigafactory site selection list.