Only 101 of the more than 2,200 workers laid off by the closure of the Peugeot plant at Ryton are still claiming benefit.

The jobs were lost just over a year ago when the French carmaker closed it Coventry factory, ending more than 60 years of production on the site.

But the Peugeot Partnership, formed to lessen the impact of the closure, heard at its latest meeting that just 101 former employees had not yet found new employment or were not in full time training.

The Partnership is an alliance of local authorities, the Learning and Skills Council, Jobcentre Plus, the Chamber of Commerce, MPs and unions led by the Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire Partnership.

It has led efforts to allow workers to retrain and find new employment as well as minimise the impact on local communities.

Chairman of the group Brian Woods-Scawen, who also chairs CSWP, said the latest figures released by Jobcentre Plus were the clearest indication that local reaction to the closure had proved successful.

He said: "We have always remembered throughout that the closure of Ryton was for many individuals and families a massive blow which would not be easily solved.

"But the fact that all parties connected with the closure were prepared to work with shared aims has proved successful.

"The fact that only 101 people are still looking for employment is very encouraging and underlines not only the efforts that have been made to alleviate the effects of the closure but also the buoyancy of the local economy.

"I can think of plenty of regions in the UK that could not have absorbed a blow as significant as this.

"I am in no doubt that a considerable part of this success is down to the work of partners such as the LSC and Jobcentre Plus who, through the partnership, were very quick to react and established a whole ream of support and training programmes - a proportion of which was funded by Peugeot - to aid the workers in their quest to find new employment."

Of the former Peugeot workers still claiming benefit, nine of them are under 40 years old while 50 per cent of them are 49 or older.

About 70 are from Coventry, 20 from Warwickshire and the remainder from further afield.

Dr Woods-Scawen added: "It is very hard to track what exactly has happened to Peugeot workers who have found employment, but we do know that a good proportion have moved into manufacturing or engineering which is encouraging.

"It is impossible to replace these sort of jobs like for like but, considering the size and scale of the Ryton shutdown, we are very pleased with the progress. That does not mean, however, that we will stop our work and will continue to support those workers who would like help in rejoining the labour market."

Work has started on demolishing the Ryton plant - once the heart of the old Rootes Group vehicle empire - in readiness for developments that are expected ultimately to create about 3,000 jobs.

Along with the former Jaguar factory at Browns Lane, Coventry, and the redundant Rover site at Longbridge, Birmingham, Ryton is one of three major automotive plants to have closed in the West Midlands in the past three years with the loss of about 10,000 manufacturing jobs.

As The Birmingham Post reported on Thursday, redevelopment of Longbridge moved up a gear when Scyron, a surveillance and security software specialist that grew out of a research project at Birmingham University, opened premises at the new Longbridge Innovation Centre on the site.

Plans are under way to convert Browns Lane into an office and warehouse park that could create up to 1,500 jobs.