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East Anglia Future 50

Norfolk-born inventor's company creating 300 new jobs on electric vehicle project

PUBLISHED: 09:03 01 March 2018 | UPDATED: 09:50 01 March 2018

Cromer-born inventor Sir James Dyson, whose company is hiring extra staff for its automotive division to work on an electric vehicle. Picture: David Parry/PA Wire

Cromer-born inventor Sir James Dyson, whose company is hiring extra staff for its automotive division to work on an electric vehicle. Picture: David Parry/PA Wire

Norfolk-born inventor Sir James Dyson says automation should not be feared – and could end up creating employment rather than decimating it.

The billionaire businessman said skilled engineers and IT experts would be needed to develop the new technologies behind robotics and automation, with his own company recruiting for 300 extra engineers to support its research and development projects.

His comments come as Dyson posted record profits for 2017 thanks to booming demand in Asia.

After reporting a 27% increase in underlying earnings to £801m and a 40% rise in revenues to £3.5bn, the group has pledged to invest £8m a week in research and development in 2018.

It has also said it will spend £2.5bn on “long-term technology” – with £2bn being earmarked for its new electric vehicle project, announced last year.

Half of that will go towards the vehicle’s creation and the remaining £1bn will funding battery technology, with an anticipated launch date of 2020.

The group, famed for its vacuum cleaners, already has a 400-strong automotive team which will move into a new state-of-the-art building at Hullavington Airfield this year – a 750 acre site which will be Dyson’s second R&D campus in Britain.

Dyson is also currently recruiting another 300 staff for the automotive team.

Sir James also said the group, which employs 4,450 engineers and scientists, of which half are based in the UK, was continuing with its push to increase female engineers throughout the firm and, more widely, in Britain.

More than a quarter, 28%, of students at its privately-funded university in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, are female, but there is more to do to increase women engineers in the firm and at a senior level, he said.

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