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The advanced engineering and transmission technology specialist Xtrac, which is globally recognised as a leading player in the UK motorsport industry, is aiming to recruit more staff than ever before as it continues with its recruitment campaign throughout the Thames Valley region – and plans an open day for potential employees at its hi-tech facility on Saturday 4 February 2011.


In 2011 the company recruited over 40 more staff and currently has over 25 vacancies.  Once these positions are fulfilled it will bring the headcount to a record level of more than 280 employees – the highest ever in the company’s 28 years since it was founded as a start-up business designing and manufacturing all-wheel drive systems for Rally Cross cars.

“One of the attractions of working at Xtrac is that all recruits are entitled to participate in an award winning share scheme after serving a year with the company, when every employee becomes a shareholder through our Employee Shareholder Trust and can share in the success of the business,” says head of human resources Jane Gilham.

“This is clearly perceived as an attractive benefit; even though we’re continually expanding, our workforce tends to be very stable and the average length of service is over 10 years with minimal turnover.  Those that do leave tend to remain within our industry by working for other automotive companies and sometimes become our customers!”

Xtrac achieved a record level of sales revenue for its 2011 financial year, and faces a record order book for 2012.  It is currently investing in new machine tools, increasing the size of its build shop, adding to its state-of-the-art R&D test laboratory and investing in even more world class super hi-tech analysis and simulation computers.   Its world class business delivers leading edge solutions to virtually all Formula One and top motorsport teams around the world including rallying, sportscar and touring car racing.  The company is also in the forefront of hybrid and electric vehicle transmission innovation for many international automotive companies.

“Taking on additional well qualified engineers is the key to sustaining future levels of growth,” says managing director Peter Digby.  “We need more people to support existing customers in the multi-billion dollar global motorsport industry and increasingly to support new customers in other automotive and transport engineering sectors.”

The UK-owned company has facilities in North America, where it serves IndyCar and the ever popular NASCAR series, and operates its global headquarters from a modern factory located near Thatcham in Berkshire, situated between Newbury and Reading, where the Thames Valley meets the A4/M4 corridor.   It’s a prominent part of the UK Motorsport Valley.

“We’re typically getting a dozen applicants for each professional engineering position in an industry where we have to compete with Formula 1 race teams, car makers and other hi-tech engineering companies,” says Gilham.  “That increases to more than 80 applicants for each apprenticeship, under-graduate and post-graduate position, which are highly sought after.”

Xtrac has four vacancies this year for engineering apprenticeships, four vacancies for under-graduates to study automotive or mechanical engineering and three vacancies for newly qualified post-graduate engineers.   The company maintains close links with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, which itself has just achieved a record number of members, and Xtrac staff includes a number of highly qualified Fellows of the Institution.

“As our business continues to grow and flourish we are looking for skilled and experienced engineering professionals.  We want to find talented and committed individuals and to inform engineers in the local area about the wide-ranging career opportunities available at Xtrac,” says Gilham.

The company is advertising throughout the Thames Valley region from Oxfordshire in the west, to London in the east, covering Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Hampshire and Surrey.

“Experienced engineers are in short supply in the UK, and the most challenging positions we have to fill are design engineers with at least four years post graduate experience,” says Gilham.  “Skilled machine operators, inspectors and buyers are also in short supply in the UK as we’re fishing from the same pool as many other engineering companies.  However, candidates are particularly drawn to motorsport, especially F1, and green technologies such as our work on hybrid and electric vehicles, so we do have that advantage … and we have been successful in recruiting from France, Germany and, within the UK, from Scotland.”

“We offer good career development and a wide variety of work experience, which also helps to attract the right people.  Also there are a number of different disciplines within the business covering engineering, manufacturing, commercial, quality, human resourcing and finance.”

Looking ahead, Xtrac is proactively involved in developing initiatives for school children to interest them in a career in engineering and technology.   The company offers work experience to Year 10 and 11 students attending local schools and participates in factory visits and career fairs aimed at Year 9 students onwards.

The recruitment open day event is targeted at experienced CNC machinists, assembly technicians and fitters, design engineers, research and development engineers, technicians, project managers, apprentices, undergraduates and newly qualified graduates.

The open day will take place from 9am to 1pm on Saturday 4 February at Gables Way, Kennet Park, Thatcham in Berkshire.  Those interested in attending should refer to the website at www.xtrac.com for information on registration.

Established in 1984 Xtrac has become a world leader in the design and manufacture of gearboxes, differentials and driveline components, which are used throughout international motorsport and in particular within F1, IndyCar, Touring Car, Rallying, Rally Raid, GRAND-AM and many forms of sportscar racing including a major involvement in the Le Mans 24 hours, Daytona 24 hour and Sebring 12 hour races.

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