Mayor visits high-tech Ford engine plant

25 November 2014

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, today visited the state-of-the-art Ford engine plant in Dagenham.

He was given a tour of Ford’s new advanced technology engine assembly line where the company is manufacturing its new low emission Euro 6/VI diesel engines, which will comply with the Mayor’s Ultra Low Emission Zone proposal, and met a group of the Ford apprentices.

Boosting youth employment is a key priority for the Mayor and apprenticeships is one important way to achieve this. Apprenticeship starts have increased at a faster rate in the capital than in any other UK region and more than 40,000 people now start an apprenticeship every year in London, which is more than double the number starting four years ago.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: "Like a well-oiled engine, apprentices are absolutely crucial to keeping our economy moving, providing a smooth transition into employment for school leavers while also being hugely rewarding for the companies involved. It is great to be here at Ford - one of the traditional motors of the UK economy - to meet their apprentices and to see how the company is making not only the best diesel engines in the world, but the most environmentally friendly diesel engines in the world.”

Ford is investing £475m in next-generation, low emission, Euro 6/VI diesel engines. From next year the plant in Dagenham will have the capacity to produce 350,000 advanced technology engines a year – the equivalent of one made every 30 seconds. These new engines will deliver dramatically lower NOx emissions, satisfying the air quality requirements of the Mayor’s proposed Ultra Low Emission Zone which aims to reduce levels of air pollution in the capital.

Mark Ovenden, Chairman and Managing Director, Ford of Britain, said: “This new, low emission, London-built advanced diesel engine will deliver dramatically lower NOx emissions, meeting the air quality requirements of the London Mayor’s proposed Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), and underlines Ford’s commitment to environmental sustainability. The engine was designed and developed at our Dunton Technical Facility in Essex, and will be exported to markets around the world when production begins early next year.”

Before 2010, annual apprenticeship starts did not exceed 21,000 and were often much lower. Starts have since doubled despite changes to national policy which are making it more challenging to deliver apprenticeships. The London Enterprise Panel, chaired by the Mayor of London, has secured Government funding to double the apprenticeship grant for employers available to small and medium sized enterprises and the Mayor’s Office is funding a campaign that highlights the range and quality of apprenticeships available for small businesses.

Just last week, the Mayor further evidenced his support for boosting youth employment when he visited Skills London – the capital’s biggest careers and jobs fair, with around 45,000 jobs and apprenticeships on offer.

Ford currently employs 930 apprentices. 800 of these are based across the company’s dealer network while 95 are undertaking a craft apprenticeship programme at the Centre for Engineering and Manufacturing Excellence in Rainham. An additional 45 young people are enrolled on a higher apprenticeship scheme.

In addition, Ford work closely with local schools and higher education institutions and have invested £322,000 in the East London University Technical College – a new type of university technical college for students studying engineering and design.