Marconi to create 2,200 jobs at high-tech base

Marconi has announced plans to build a new high-tech base near Coventry, creating 2,200 new jobs. The electronics company, formerly GEC, is to build new communications and services facilities on a disused airfield site at Ansty, on the edge of the city. Construction is expected to start in the autumn. Most of the vacancies, 1,000 […]

Marconi has announced plans to build a new high-tech base near Coventry, creating 2,200 new jobs.

The electronics company, formerly GEC, is to build new communications and services facilities on a disused airfield site at Ansty, on the edge of the city. Construction is expected to start in the autumn.

Most of the vacancies, 1,000 of which will be created in the first two years, will be for engineers, technologists and researchers in electronics, hardware, software and operations engineering.

Marconi said it is willing to consider ex-Rover employees made redundant following the car company’s sale by BMW. It will offer retraining in telecommunications work for those accepted.

Neil Sutcliffe, chief executive of Marconi Services, one of the two divisions moving to the new site, said the company hopes to benefit from the release of some Rover software engineers who are employed at Gaydon, which is 10 miles from the Ansty site.

Marconi is also launching undergraduate programmes to create a steady flow of relevant engineering students through local universities, Sutcliffe said.

`I’m not saying it’s going to be easy to find enough engineers. We do have a national skills gap in this sector, but I think the West Midlands provides us with the capabilities to meet the resource requirements of an organisation of our size,’ he said.

The government, which has granted Marconi £25m in regional aid, hopes its relocation to Ansty will attract other companies to the area, creating a new high-tech communications cluster. Marconi believes the move will also strengthen its links with Warwick University and the Warwick Manufacturing Group.

The company has been building up its telecommunications activities through acquisitions. Last year it bought US telecoms equipment producer Reltec for $2.1bn (£1.3bn) and Fore Systems, a US telecoms company, for $4bn. Last month it bought MSI, a UK wireless network planning specialist, for £391m.

There is speculation that Marconi is looking to make a large European purchase this year, possibly Siemens’ information and communications division.

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