Resurgent car-maker Jaguar Land Rover is defying the recession to take on more than 100 graduates and undergraduates in a major recruitment drive of young talent.

JLR is currently casting the net for next year’s intake of new young recruits, with a deadline of December 31, 2009, for applicants.

The jobs boom follows a dramatic recent improvement in fortunes for the Midlands biggest manufacturer, with sales and profits on the rise.

JLR unveiled profits of £22 million for the third quarter of 2009 compared to losses of £49 million for the three months to the end of June.

Meanwhile, the group enjoyed its best showroom performance for months in November, with Land Rover’s total sales of 2,872 more than doubling its figure for the same month in 2008. Jaguar sales also enjoyed a healthy increase, up to 1,467 compared to 972 a year previously.

Jaguar Land Rover HR Director Des Thurlby said: “Jaguar Land Rover is looking to recruit passionate graduates to join the business and help to develop our next generation of world-class products. We also need graduates in our business and commercial functions as we respond quickly to consumer desires and wants.

“Despite the challenging economic situation, we continue to invest in our people and in our future product line-up.

“We plan to recruit more graduates in 2010 than we did in 2009 to be in the best possible position as the economy improves.”

Carl Gilleard, Chairman of the Association of Graduate Recruiters, said: “It is really encouraging to see Jaguar Land Rover looking positively to the future and continuing to invest in graduate talent.”

JLR added in a statement: “Jaguar Land Rover has recently announced a new business plan, designed to drive growth and sustained profitability and respond to the current economic challenges.

“Despite these challenges, JLR continues to invest in graduate talent and has vacancies across the business in engineering, manufacturing, finance, human resources, marketing, IT and purchasing.”

JLR also runs an undergraduate scheme for engineering students to experience three or 12-month placements in the automotive sector.

The group added: “Candidates have until December 31, 2009, to apply for these schemes.

“Applications to date are more than three times the level that was achieved for the 2009 graduate milk-round, when JLR took on around 70 graduates and undergraduates.”

It was reported on in December that JLR sales rose 30 per cent in November as the car market began to show signs of recovery from recession.

Both wholesale sales – the number of vehicles sold to dealers – and retail sales showed strong growth, although year-to date revenues remained down on the previous year.