Peugeot’s £2m drive helps cut jobless queue

by John Robinson

Car manufacturer Peugeot is targeting 200 to 300 long-term unemployed people in its recruitment of 900 new staff at its Ryton plant near Coventry. The company was last week awarded £2m of government aid to help its jobs drive.

Two-thirds of the recruits will staff new weekend shifts producing the 206 model. The Ryton plant will now operate four double shifts and be fully productive seven days a week.

Personnel director Mike Judge said candidates would be judged on their attitude rather than skills. ‘We don’t care whether they are butchers, bakers or candlestick makers. We just want the right attitudes from them,’ he said. ‘Anything they need by way of technical training, we can give them. But we want people who want to come and work for us.’

The Employment Service is processing initial applications for the jobs. Judge said Peugeot would concentrate recruitment in the Coventry area, but that it had already taken on some staff from neighbour Rover’s troubled Longbridge plant.

A limited number of recruits are also being taken on from the Government’s New Deal programme.

Judge said production targets for the weekend shifts would initially be lower because of the high proportion of new staff.

‘About one third of our current employees have volunteered to work the new weekend shift, but two of every three that are going to be working it will be new,’ he added. ‘You will always have a learning curve, but one of the tricks is to get very quickly up to speed.’

New staff will receive an induction course and multi-skilling training to enable them to work in two or three areas of the plant. They will also get a grant for non-vocational training, such as language courses.

John Robinson writes for Personnel Today magazine