In May 2011 the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) hosted a conference on future mobility. The two day event Our Future Mobility Now marks a big step for Europe’s automotive industry. It is the first time the auto industry collectively opens up a dialogue with their future clients- today’s youth.
45 delegates from all over Europe gathered in Autoworld Brussels to develop ideas around future mobility with facilitators and experts from within the industry. Checkdisout attended the event and did an interview with Jo Lopes. Jo has worked for Jaguar Land Rover for over 20 years having joined the then Rover Group as a graduate at Solihull. Jo worked for 16 years within Engineering in different technical roles including electronic brakes development and test as well as vehicle handling and steering.
Which were your expectations when you were asked to join “Our Future Mobility now” as an expert?
Jo Lopes: My expectations where quite open, I had expected a good cross section of young students from across Europe and a diversity of views and opinions on the topics discussed (which we had..)
Your group dealt with the topic “Skills for the Future”. What are the main trends and influencing factors within this area from your professional perspective?
The relation between the expectations of modern students on how the workplace was organised and how the relationships operated within an automotive organisation. I think there was a good critical eye on how the perceptions of the students differed or otherwise from the reality and how comparing different perceptions of how new and older industrial sectors compared in the minds of the undergraduates.
During the workshop you had the opportunity to discuss with young delegates from all over Europe. How did the discussion shape up? Where there any surprises?
The discussion was mostly very positive and interactive. I think what was clear is that the automotive industry has work to do to engage in this type of event to turn around perceptions of what it is like to work and operate in the sector and the outstanding and divers opportunities that exist for students with a wide range of skills.
Please share a quick summary with us: which were the 3 top-ideas that were developed?
The idea of an interactive service from the recruitment part of HR in the auto businesses, to reflect more of a service, came through very strongly. The idea that it should not be about pushing individuals to websites and give a more tailored and personal service was demanded by the delegates.
Additionally, the need for a figurehead for engineering (a Lady GAGA!!!) was quite insightful. A need to have a modern role model who can engage with young people and the wider public, to help reinforce the positive image of what it is like and the rewards of becoming an Engineer.
The last point also backs the desire to get a positive media image, which has the required effect on parents to promote engineering to their children as a worthwhile and prestigious career option.
How can car manufacturers (not only Jaguar Land Rover) put these ideas into action?
Engage in events such as this and other national and international engineering and science fairs and events to push the message out. Engage with media to promote positive images.
But also to look within our own organisations and ensure our service for recruitment is appropriate in this modern age and tap in to the right medium for communication and servicing recruitment.
How would you like to see the process of dialogue continue after the event?
Follow up to this and get ACEA to develop work streams on these topics.