Coventry and Warwickshire’s success in helping former Peugeot staff find jobs is being used as an example by the United States automotive industry of how it can deal with its own similar problems.
The chairman of the Peugeot Partnership, Brian Woods-Scawen, was interviewed on American radio about how the initiative helped workers following the closure of the company’s Ryton plant.
The Peugeot Partnership was an alliance of local authorities, the Learning and Skills Council, Jobcentre Plus, Chambers of Commerce and MPs and was led by the Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire Partnership (CSWP).
Dr Woods Scawen, who is chairman of CSWP, spoke on National Public Radio which broadcasts non-commercial news, talk and entertainment programmes across the US and internationally. He told listeners that the key to supporting industries is to get governments and businesses to work together on reinventing the local economy.
He said: “There is a difference between the need for short-term support, such as that which is needed by Jaguar Land Rover to maintain research skills and investment in Gaydon, Coventry and Castle Bromwich and a response to plant closures.
“We must ensure that our key firms survive the current situation and can position themselves for growth when market conditions change, as they surely will.
“But you can’t sit there and pretend that it’s not happening or somehow put a wall up and stop it so I would be optimistic, if I were talking to the people of Detroit and say this – our experience in Coventry and Warwickshire is that it is important to fight to retain the things that must be kept, but recognise also that there may be a difficult transition.”
“I would remain confident that there is a future for the city and its people if government and business work together.”