Lotus has always looked at bringing in fresh talent, those with new ideas and different ways of looking at things. Some of the most creative engineers and designers at Lotus take a sideways view of the world to create unique products and solutions.
Apprenticeships are one of the main ways that Lotus brings in this talent. The company has a robust and relevant scheme which has always attracted those who want to work on some of the most interesting and advanced engineering projects in the motor industry.
Many senior engineers and leaders at Lotus started out as Apprentices, and to celebrate the UK’s National Apprenticeship Week, a current apprentice and two former apprentices explain what attracted them to the scheme, what they got out of it and how their careers have progressed.
Georgia Hackett works as an Apprentice in the Lotus Advanced Facilities Engineering Workshops within the Electrical Drive Unit (EDU) and Transmissions team.
Georgia said: “I’ve always had an interest in how things work and always wanted to study Engineering, which I did when I left school. Due to changing personal circumstances, I didn’t continue the studies for a while, but I always told myself I’d get back as soon as I could. However, full time study wasn’t a viable option so joining the Lotus Apprentice Scheme has allowed me to combine my interests, study and get the hands-on experience that is so important for a lifelong career in engineering.”
Georgia was based at college in her first year and now attends one day a week. The rest of her time she is at Lotus gaining valuable hands-on experience.
Hayden Hackett (no relation) has finished his Apprenticeship and is now a Body Electronics Engineer. He started working at Lotus as an Electrical Systems apprentice within Lotus’ Engineering division.
Hayden explained: “I began working in the electrical workshop where I designed, created and modified wiring harnesses for prototype vehicles for both Lotus cars and for third party engineering clients. I gained experience and knowledge extremely quickly due to working with professionals with over 20 years of experience, who were welcoming, helpful and kind throughout my apprenticeship.”
After a year in the electrical workshop, Hayden was offered the opportunity to work within the electrical integration team. Here he built, tested and validated laboratory cars for the Lotus Emira programme. He also performed vehicle prototype fleet management for electrical hardware and software integration, as well as vehicle commissioning.
Hayden added: “This was invaluable experience for my development as I worked with every team on the Lotus Emira programme to integrate features such as electrically adjustable seats, infotainment systems, audio systems and much more. Over the three years of the Apprenticeship programme, I learnt very quickly about vehicle electrical architecture, integration, harness development, diagnostics and fleet management. This has helped my career develop has already led to unique opportunities for me.”
Gavan Kershaw started at Lotus as an Apprentice in 1988, and over the last 34 years, his career has led him to his current the role of Attributes Director for Lotus. Gavan cut his teeth on the legendary Lotus Carlton / Omega and the award-winning Lotus Type 100 Elan together with Esprit motorsport campaigns and the then cutting-edge active suspension programmes for Lotus Engineering and its third-party clients.
Today Gavan heads up the team at Lotus which defines the technical attributes of Lotus cars, most recently the Eletre – the new Lotus electric hyper-SUV, the Evija hypercar and the Emira sports car.
Gavan looks at his Apprenticeship at Lotus as extremely valuable and cites the welcoming and team spirit of US LOT as being key to the success of not just Lotus and its many Apprentices. “Where else could you work on some of the most innovative and high-tech cars on the market whilst still studying at college? I was also guided and mentored by some of the finest engineers in the industry, in an environment where creativity is applauded and out-of-the-box thinking is encouraged.”
Gavan is now mentoring the next generation of Apprentices. “It always gives me pleasure to tell them that I was once in their shoes. I know exactly what their work / life balance is like and how daunting the working environment can be, but also how rewarding it is when your career starts heading in the direction that you wanted it to go.”
The Lotus Apprentice Scheme for 2023-24 opens in March 2023.