Toyota Worldwide   

Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) was founded by Kiichiro Toyoda in 1937. TMC group has grown since then to include companies such as Toyota, Lexus, Daihatsu and Hino Motors. TMC is part of the Toyota Group, one of the largest conglomerates in the world and is headquartered in Toyota City, Aichi province.

From its initial position, Toyota has grown to a large multinational corporation and expanded into different worldwide markets and countries. It displaced General Motors to become the world's largest automobile manufacturer in 2008.

Toyota has factories in most parts of the world, manufacturing or assembling vehicles for local markets, including Japan, Canada, Indonesia, Poland, the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Brazil, Portugal and many more.

However, on 8 May 2015, Toyota reported a record annual net loss of $4.2 billion, making it the latest automobile manufacturer to be severely affected by the recent global economic downturn.

Toyota in the UK and in the East Midlands

Toyota has two manufacturing plants in the UK representing a total investment in excess of £1.85 billion and currently employing 4,000 employees. The site in Burnaston, Derbyshire focuses on vehicle manufacturing (including stamping, welding, painting, plastic mouldings and assembly) with the plant in Deeside, North Wales specialising in engine manufacturing (including assembly and aluminium casting).

In 2008 the Burnaston factory produced more than 213,000 vehicles. In 2015, this fell to 127,390 reflecting an industry-wide slump of 30.9% in car production. Faced with a need for smaller capacity, the Derbyshire factory adopted new working conditions leading to a 10% pay cut and a shorter working week.

In March 2016, aware of a need to reduce production capacity and become more efficient, Toyota announced that they would be introducing a voluntary release programme to approximately 750 employees from July to

The Large Business Support Group consisting of East Midlands Economics Online (EMEO), Jobcentreplus, Business Link and Career Chain came together to provide a cohesive package of support in areas such as training and redeployment opportunities. This programme was carefully planned alongside Toyota’s appointed outplacement consultant, Eclipse Executive Ltd. to provide practical advice and support to employees.

Speaking about their work with Toyota, Mike Carr, Executive Director of Business Services at EMEO said: "Toyota is one of the major businesses in the region and is globally renowned for its lean manufacturing system. In forming an effective partnership to respond to Toyota’s voluntary release programme, we wanted to ensure that we maximised the opportunities presented by a large number of talented and highly trained people leaving the business.

“Our goal is to see people take their skills to new employers, start their own businesses, or develop new skills. As a result of our previous experience of working on restructuring projects with a number of companies, we were able to deliver a highly effective response for Toyota.”

Career Support Centre

Toyota set up a dedicated area for employees to access a range of information supplied by the partner organisations as well as details of local vacancies. Workshops were also made available focusing on interview skills, CV writing as well as understanding the benefits available to them.

Employees were also able to book one to one advice sessions to discuss next steps in their career. This proved to be extremely popular and over 100 employees attended an appointment in the first two days alone. The success of these sessions became clear throughout the programme with many appointments resulting in follow up enquiries.

Engaging with the region's large businesses

In order to stimulate the interest from businesses across the East Midlands in the skilled labour, EMEO organised a mail shot to over 2,000 large regional businesses.  50 good leads were generated from this, including one company who has already started the recruitment process for approximately 400 positions.

Toyota also hosted a career fair in July which offered employees the opportunity to meet directly with prospective employers.

Talking about its work with the Large Business Support group, Dan Janes, Human Resources Planning at Toyota said: “The whole process would have been a lot more difficult for us without such a co-ordinated approach. EMEO helped to organise the programme for us, they told us the advice we needed to bring in and who could provide this advice.  We were then able to make contact with these organisations and set up appointments

“The mailing to businesses managed by EMEO was extremely successful. They were able to make contact with businesses that we had no contact with. We got a great response and then dealt directly with the interested businesses.”

Business Support Evaluation

Initial stages of the evaluation have already shown that partner organisations have had very positive responses from employees and that promising discussions regarding future careers, re-training and business start ups were held. Career Chain saw 730 employees and delivered 564 appointments while Business Link’s Start up Service had 120 attendees at its workshops so far. 880 people will leave the firm on a voluntary redundancy scheme. Of these, 550 people have already left, all were positive about the support they received and 55% had already secured positions elsewhere.

The timing of Toyota's voluntary release scheme coincided with the introduction of a new product line at Caterpillar. The new jobs created at Desford created opprtunities for Toyota employees with skill sets matching CAT's requirements. Through the EMEO funded Career Chain service we were able to support the process of job matching and redeployment.

Avril Simons of Business Link commented: “All the workshops and meetings helped raise awareness of options such as self employment and business start-ups, which employees might not have necessarily considered otherwise.

“It is very reassuring to see how keen Toyota was to help its employees.”

Pauline Brown, HR Director at Eclipse Executive Limited added: “We worked in collaboration with Toyota and outside agencies planning the large scale support strategy for their Voluntary Release Programme.

Feedback from employees has been extremely positive and evidence has already shown that many have secured alternative roles.

Positive feedback so far

The programme was welcomed by employees at Toyota, who were made aware of the wide range of
opportunities. They attended sessions in large numbers and followed up with more in-depth appointments to further develop their future plans.

Dan Janes is very pleased with progress so far and said: “At this stage it is still difficult for us to know exactly how many employees have a new job to go to, but we do know that a large number of people have decided to go back to university after receiving advice on universities, courses and applications. The whole process has been extremely successful.

Employees  were able to apply for vacancies on display and in some cases the whole process gave them confidence to find a job elsewhere, armed with plenty of advice and a great CV.”

Angela Stansfield, Employment Engagement Manager at Jobcentreplus also commented: “We received a very encouraging response from employees. They were impressed with the service and advice they received.”

Local businesses that were approached also demonstrated a high level of interest in benefiting from Toyota’s highly skilled employees, as Anita Mason from Career Chain explains: “All the organisations involved have been working closely together - it has been a co-ordinated effort. The large business support group is a good model for similar situations in the future. Each organisation knew what its responsibilities were and worked alongside the outplacement consultant in delivering the programme.”

Future Objectives

The Burnaston plant recently launched the production of the first mass produced full hybrid vehicle in Europe: the Toyota Auris Hybrid Synergy Drive.

Toyota's choice of Burnaston out of nine European factories as the production plant underlines the confidence the manufacturer has in the site.

At the launch, attended by Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills Vince Cable, senior Toyota executives heaped praise on the Burnaston workforce, as well as those at the firm's engine-making plant at Deeside, North Wales.

Vince Cable said: “Toyota’s decision to make Burnaston the only plant in the world to build the Hybrid Auris is a strong endorsement of the UK as a manufacturing base for the next generation of cars.

“It is sending a signal to manufacturers that if you’re not in the UK, then you’re missing out on all the strengths and skills that the UK has to offer.”










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