Within 24 hours of Peugeot announcing the closure of Ryton, an action plan was being drawn up by a group which was to be called the Peugeot Partnership.

Headed by Brian Woods-Scawen – chairman of the Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire Partnership – it brought together unions, councils, workers, and training bodies seeking to ameliorate the aftermath of the closure.

Agencies involved include the Learning & Skills Council, the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, Job Centre Plus, Advantage West Midlands, The Government Office for the West Midlands, the DTI, Coventry University and the University of Warwick, and the sub-region's local authorities of Coventry City Council, Warwickshire County Council and Rugby Borough Council.

Mr Woods-Scawen said: "A closure like this is a tragedy for the workers and their families.

"But I would also like to think about the future prospects. Coventry and Warwickshire is the fastest growing and most booming part of the West Midlands.

"There are 10,000 jobs being created here every year. We are very hopeful with support and appropriate training we will be able to place everyone in jobs and jobs of their choice."

Mr Woods Scawen pointed to the record of the partnership since it was set up on April 19.

Of the first 1,200 workers that left Peugeot, 400 are already in new employment and another 400 are in re-training.

From the remainder, some have retired, some have emigrated or gone into training. But many have found work.

"Job Centre Plus has never had as many jobs as they have at the moment.

"These are good quality jobs; they are not just stacking shelves in supermarkets. Sometimes people need support and training, but that is available."

Many of the skills of the workforce at Ryton stood them in good stead for post-Peugeot employment.

"A lot have worked in teams for example, or with logistic systems or IT every day. These skills are easily transferable to the distribution industry because they have skills they have in just in time deliveries for example," said Mr Woods-Scawen.

Many of the former workers had chosen to enter the construction industry while others had become drivers, plumbers or gone to work in IT.

He added that he didn't think the closure – allied with the closure of Jaguar at Browns Lane and Agco in Banner Lane – would dent the confidence of Coventry.

He said: "People are thinking 'we will show the world how we respond to this.' There is a real determination not to be beaten by the changes in the economic situation."

Mr Woods-Scawen said there had been shock and surprise at the timing of Peugeot's decision to cease production at Ryton, but the Partnership assembled very quickly to meet the challenge.

Within 24 hours the different groups had been contacted, while the then Trade and Industry Secretary Alan Johnson visited the site the next day. Four different theme groups were set up – to help the workers; to identify the economic impact on Coventry and Warwickshire; to assess the effect on the supply chain and finally to see how it would affect the local communities.

Early on it became clear that significant though the end of Ryton was, there was no need to panic.

"We had to reassure the workforce, that was the most important thing," said Mr Woods-Scawen.

"But when we looked at the component chain for example, we found there weren't that many suppliers because the plant had taken most of its parts from continental Europe."

The spread of Peugeot workers far and wide, with no concentration in any one particular area also negated any excessive impact on one community.

One area the Partnership did not try to attempt was to change Peugeot's mind about the closure.

"The trades unions were very active in coming up with alternative proposals, and we empathised with them doing that and supported them in absolutely everything they did.

"Our job was to hope for the best, but prepare for them closing the plant and deal with the consequences of that. International companies don't decide to close their factories lightly and don't often change their minds."

Mr Woods-Scawen said he thought the speed of the response was most important.

"Speed was important because you have to reassure the workforce that something is being done to help them and there will be a future.

"We also had to move quickly to provide reassurance to outside investors that Coventry was a place to invest."

Being realistic was also important, he added.

"If an employer says they are going to close a plant, the chances are they are. It is important not to put your effort into changing their mind.

"Big companies do not make plans to close somewhere and then change their mind. It would not have been good to bank on them staying open."

Another important lesson was to be clear with the Government about what was needed by way of support, he added.