Coachlines - March 2024

29.03.24 Assistant Lyn Litchfield

A joyful celebration and a glimpse of a challenging future – a report from the Automotive Industry Livery Dinner

21st March was a fine day. The Coachmakers celebrated by presenting its distinguished automotive industry awards and bursaries to some of the finest and brightest young people at the company’s livery dinner at Carpenters’ Hall.

These awards include: the Motor Centenary Bursary Award, Sir William Lyons Automotive Design Award – Coventry University, Advanced Automotive Engineering Research Bursary – Brunel University, Automotive and Motorsport Future Technologies Award – Cranfield University, and Bentley Heritage Award for an Outstanding Apprentice.

Some of our automotive award winners

More than 100 Liverymen and Freemen of the Company and their families and friends attended this happy occasion to celebrate the outstanding achievements of our award winners. We Coachmakers are proud to make a positive difference to these talented young people who are the future of our industries.

Our Motor Car Centenary Bursary Award Sub-Committee, led by its Chair, Assistant Giles Taylor, has worked tirelessly to encourage these young people, and to select the best of the best from the talent pool.

A number of the outstanding academics who are instrumental in guiding and nurturing them during their studies also joined us for the award ceremony, including Professor Diane Mynors, Head of the Engineering Faculty at Brunel University; Dr Kim Blackburn, Motor Sport Course Director at Cranfield University; Cynthia Charwick-Bland, Course Tutor at the Royal College of Art, and also Louise Wood, apprentice mentor at P&A Wood. Nothing happens by accident, and as an active livery investing in young people, we fulfil this promise with our actions not just our words.

The Master Coachmaker Bettine Evans invited Jim Saker, Emeritus Professor at Loughborough University and President of the Institute of the Motor Industry, to be our guest speaker.

The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) was founded in 1920 when society – as now – was experiencing rapid technology-driven change. It was created to establish new skills and knowledge benchmarks for the emerging automotive industry. The IMI’s mission is to support the global automotive workforce in achieving and maintaining professional competence and continuing professional development to service, repair and maintain vehicles to industry standards, including new automotive technologies such as electric vehicles and advanced driver assistance systems.

Professor Saker was Director of the Centre for Automotive Management at Loughborough for 30 years. He now works primarily in marketing and strategy development and is currently involved with the security services looking at the threat posed by connected vehicles and the challenge of cyber security.

In his speech, he addressed some major issues we face today, such as the employment and skills shortage of the automotive industry; the economic and security threat from connected vehicles – especially from China due to its market dominance. He asked some poignant questions and invited us all to think about them. How can we respond to these challenges and threats? What role can our Livery Company play? How can we as individual Coachmakers make our voices heard and make a positive impact within and beyond our industries?

All in all, it was another splendid evening. An evening to celebrate the future captains of our industries, an evening of good conversation among friends, an evening of thought-provoking speeches, and of course it was also an evening of sheer pleasure while we enjoyed each other’s company and fellowship.