Why engineering firm Magtec is creating 50 new highly skilled jobs in Rotherham

Decarbonisation of the commercial vehicle market needs to be a priority for the Government and fleet operators should be incentivised to adapt their existing fleets, according to the boss of a growing electric vehicle drive systems manufacturer.

The Mayor of South Yorkshire Dan Jarvis officially opened Magtec’s new facility for the design, manufacture and installation of drive systems for electric and hybrid vehicles.

Rotherham-based Magtec has announced that it is creating 50 more highly skilled engineering roles, to go with the 140 staff it already employs.

Andrew Gilligan, managing director of Magtec, told The Yorkshire Post: “One of the biggest gaps at the moment in Government is the fact that there are no incentives for fleet operators to repower their existing fleets.

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“There are significant incentives to buy new electric vehicles, which come from overseas.

The Labour MP for Barnsley Central and former British Army officer met with directors, engineers, apprentices and ex-services personnel employed by Magtec.

“Fleet operators have large assets. These assets have a 15 to 20-year life. We shouldn’t be throwing these assets away. They can be electrified. There is an investment there but technology is accelerating so much in this area that the capability of drive systems is better than the diesel equivalent.”

The business has spent the past year transitioning to a new 65,000 sq ft facility in Rotherham from Sheffield and hosted a visit from the Mayor of South Yorkshire, Dan Jarvis.

Mr Gilligan said: “In November last year we had to make a decision of whether we were going to stay the same size in the sectors that we operate in or whether we were going to start to exploit our technology and broaden our product offering to different sectors.

“We made that decision and on the back of that we were able to create 30 additional jobs last year through Covid.

“These are highly skilled jobs – engineers, technical specialists and also people on the shop floor – fitters, machinists etc.

“As we grow as an organisation we need additional people – highly skilled people in the region that can come and join us and help us with that growth.”

Magtec is set to turn over around £15m this year. However, next year it is expecting to turn over at least £30m.

“Job creation in Magtec of 50 people is great but we’ll be creating jobs in this sector, in this region in the hundreds because of the support infrastructure that we need to grow,” Mr Gilligan added.

Magtec is increasing production for existing and new customers in the commercial vehicle, rail, defence and special project sectors.

Orders include drive systems for electric refuse collection vehicles, autonomous and connected electric trucks and the rail industry’s first conversion of diesel multiple units.

“We develop full-drive systems that can be supplied as kits to OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) and we also provide our own vehicles,” says Mr Gilligan. “We’re launching our own seven-and-a-half-tonne inner city logistics vehicle in 2022.”

He added: “We also operate in the rail sector. We’re working with Angel Trains on the development of a hybrid system that can be utilised on trains that don’t operate on pantograph systems.”

Magtec is supporting the British Army TD6 programme to assess the benefits that hybrid military vehicles can bring to the battlefield of the future.

When the firm closed its two factories and consolidated with the bigger site in Rotherham, employee retention was a key consideration. Mr Gilligan said: “We selected this site because it had the least impact on the majority of the staff in the business.”

Apprenticeships have helped the firm plug skills gaps.

“We’ve certainly found the skills that we need are not readily available so we’re having to develop that skill set ourselves,” says Mr Gilligan.

Forward-thinking firms will be key

The Mayor of South Yorkshire visited Magtec on December 2 to officially open the site in Rotherham and understand more about the business.

Dan Jarvis said: “I was very impressed by Magtec’s new facility and it was a real privilege to meet their highly talented team and learn more about the hugely innovative and highly skilled work they are doing to bring forward technical solutions to the challenges we face in delivering decarbonisation.

“Forward-thinking companies such as Magtec are at the absolute cutting-edge of the next industrial revolution, of which our region can be a driving force.”

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