August 2016

'We are committed to offering lifelong learning to all our employees'

Ian Eva, apprentice manager at Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), was recently honoured with a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to vocational education in the 2016 New Year Honours. As apprentice manager, he is part of the team that has developed innovative skilling and apprenticeship strategies at JLR. In 2015, JLR was honoured with four SEMTA Skills Awards as recognition for its work to upskill people working in the supply chain and drive up apprenticeship standards in the automotive sector. In this interview to tata.com, Mr Eva speaks about his work in the vocational skilling space and his journey at JLR.

Ian Eva was recently honoured with a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to vocational education in the 2016 New Year Honours

Did you expect to be awarded the MBE and how does it feel to be awarded one?
It was an absolute shock. I felt surprised and humbled. I nearly fell off my chair when I received the letter, and to receive it from The Queen was an incredible honour. When discussing the award with The Queen, I was pleasantly surprised at how well informed she was about apprenticeship programmes.

I see it as an award for Jaguar Land Rover rather than just myself. I have serious sponsors who see apprenticeships as a strategic imperative in closing skills gaps and a great team who operationalise our strategy.

You have been working in the vocational education space for over a decade, how did you transition from being an apprentice to playing a key role in setting the standards and norms for apprenticeship not only at JLR but also in the automotive industry?
I started my career as an apprentice; as a result I am very aware of the benefits this brings. I was fortunate enough to take on the role of apprentice manager [at JLR] over a decade ago – and have never looked back since. We work collaboratively with a number of organisations that share our vision about the future of apprenticeship. I was asked by the apprenticeship unit within the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to lead an automotive employer-led group to re-define apprenticeship standards and to bring them to life.

How important is the apprentice profile from a business point of view?
Our apprenticeship offerings focus primarily on areas of recognised scarce skills, both at the level of tradespersons and more recently engineering disciplines. As such, apprenticeships help Jaguar Land Rover and our supply chain to meet our projected growth profiles and fulfil our skills requirements. Through the Jaguar Land Rover Academy, we are committed to offering lifelong learning to all our employees, from recruitment to retirement.

Can you tell us a little about the Trailblazer initiative and its significance to the JLR business strategy and skill development?
The Trailblazer initiative is focused on improving previous apprenticeship frameworks and making them relevant for present and future needs. We have embedded knowledge, skills and behaviours in the standards after benchmarking the very best worldwide.

What is the idea behind JLR Academy’s core philosophy of 'lifelong learning'?
The Jaguar Land Rover Academy offers ‘lifelong learning’ for people at all stages of their working lives in the company, whether they are new recruits or experienced employees seeking to move to the next level in the organisation. By delivering training that is relevant to the changing business requirements, the Academy will enable employees to progress in their careers at Jaguar Land Rover.

Courses range from engineering up-skilling programmes to postgraduate qualifications, including the company’s award-winning advanced and degree apprenticeships, as well as its well-established graduate programme.

The Jaguar Land Rover Academy is run in partnership with WMG, at the University of Warwick, building on the company’s strong ties with the university. Courses are delivered by 10 leading universities; Warwickshire College working alongside EEF, the manufacturers' organisation; and a number of other specialist training providers.

Could you tell us about your journey within the organisation?
After completing my apprenticeship I went on to study for an engineering degree and then onto the Land Rover Graduate Programme with significant assignments in product development, manufacturing and launch, before moving into the HR function.

What is your view on JLR’s learning and development strategy?
JLR’s learning and development strategy encompasses principles of lifelong learning in order to meet our strategic goals and as such, it has helped me with the various career transitions as I have grown within the business.

How do you see the apprenticeship programme developing in the future?
There are many opportunities to grow our offer of supporting business needs that are under development and we look forward to the continual development of the programme.

What are your interests outside of work?
My main priorities outside of work are family activities, but I am also very keen on sports such as cycling and swimming.