Positions being offered include manufacturing and mechanical design engineers. “EA is going to grow rapidly in the coming months,” says Ellie. “It needs a lot of skilled people but, like other engineering companies in the region, faces competition from Hinkley. On the plus side, the power station has upskilled people, so there’s a good pool of local talent.”
Speak of the devil… A few stands away, Hinkley is recruiting across a range of jobs. “We’re recruiting all the time and have seen a lot of good people this morning,” says a representative. “Employees travel from far and wide, many attracted by our apprenticeship schemes that take students to degree level.” Farther along is Knight Electrical, based in Ilminster, which manufactures control systems including switchgear and distribution boards.
Customers including BP Pulse, Ionity and Gridserve use the company’s products to distribute power at their EV charging stations. Knight also supplies the distribution systems that enable solar farms to link to the National Grid, and the firm’s co-founder Dale Turnbull sees an opportunity for the new gigafactory: “During off-peak times when energy prices are low, customers store the solar energy in batteries made in China but when the Bridgwater factory comes on stream, they’ll be able to use batteries made in Britain.”
A short drive from the jobs fair, the benefits of a large project like the new gigafactory are no less apparent. Quantock Classics, a car restoration business, was founded by Chris Boyer. Autocar visited him a couple of years ago when he was planning to move to larger premises. Now settled at the new location, Boyer is thinking of moving again to a still larger one.