The crisis at Longbridge has been very unsettling for the West Midlands but has brought out the best in Birmingham's professional community.
A call to arms by a number of the city's business organisations, including Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Birmingham Forward, as well as the Rover Taskforce, resulted in a deluge of offers of support for those stricken by Rover's demise.
Mark Hopton of KPMG and Simon Murphy of Birmingham Forward have mobilised some of our number to provide advice, on a probono basis, to hard-hit component suppliers.
Birmingham Chamber speedily assembled a panel of lawyers, insolvency practitioners, rescue and recovery experts and accountants from the city's top professional firms for a forum. All gave their time free and many offered pro-bono help and assistance on an on-going basis.
Professional advisers have also been rolling up their sleeves and getting stuck in in the Black Country. The Chamber there quickly put together a series of free seminars to advise on personal tax, corporate tax, VAT, insolvency, employment issues and reservation of title.
These efforts have been geared at helping to preserve jobs and businesses during what is an historically low point for Midlands plc. The professional services sector is keen to help, and it is good to see.
But looking further ahead, there may be another way in which the professional and financial community can provide positive and practical help.
Fortunately, as a sector, we are in a period of growth. Unlike our counterparts in the manufacturing industry, which is facing pressure from all quarters, including intense overseas competition, we have seen job opportunities increase in recent years.
Reports vary on the number of jobs the sector is set to create. Figures such as 50,000 over the next decade are possibly optimistic, but even half that number would help the region. It will be difficult to offer short term relief to those facing redundancy after a long term in an historic and proud industry. Many will be facing the prospect of retraining, and concern over immediate income needs.
The professional services sector now needs to work with the education sector to identify what we need and to put the necessary courses in place.
From what I have heard, the education sector has responded to the crisis in much the same way as we have. I hope that this can-do attitude and determination will at least give some hope to those families devastated by the loss of their livelihoods. n Guy Hinchley is managing partner at the Birmingham office of law firm Mills & Reeve