Putting engineering businesses in the fast lane

Former Formula One mechanic Marc Priestley is coming to Cornwall College Camborne to try help boost productivity and profitability in small engineering businesses. Marc, who was head mechanic at McLaren F1 and is now a TV presenter, will be talking about his career and how even small changes can make a huge difference.

The specialist conference for the engineering, manufacturing, technology and marine sectors, has been organised by engineering students from the HNC and Foundation Degree students at Cornwall College and will take place on Thursday 22nd January at 9.30am.

Marc explained: "I’m really looking forward to the event in Cornwall, a place I’ve always wanted to visit helping SMEs to develop and to understand some of the ways in which Formula One teams are successful as businesses as well as sports teams, has played a more and more significant role in my work over the last few years. I’ve assisted a number of organisations across a wide variety of sectors from telecommunications to investment banking and many in between.”

Marc was head mechanic at McLaren F1, spending ten years as a member of the pit crew, working with drivers including Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Kimi Räikkönen, David Coulthard and Fernando Alonso.

Coming from a sport where millions are spent shaving hundredths of a second off lap times, Marc will be talking about how, by focussing on small steps to improve efficiency and quality, businesses can innovate and bring about significant change.

Amarjit Basi, The Cornwall College Group Principal and CEO, said: “This event draws upon the excellent relationships The Cornwall College Group has with employers, schools, universities, local communities and learners in delivering our commitment to ‘Making Learning Work’. Our subject specialisms have been developed in partnership with employers to provide career-led pathways aimed at bridging the skills gap across the region.”

The event is sponsored by The Cornwall College Group’s Business Innovation and Knowledge Exchange (BIKE) programme and will focus on how businesses can utilise technology, knowledge and skills for the development of new products.

Amarjit continued: “BIKE is just one of the ways in which we are continuing to work with Cornish businesses and we are delighted to welcome Marc Priestly, a truly world class engineer who has had a fascinating career, to share his knowledge in one of the specialisms that Cornwall and the South West is committed towards becoming world famous for.”

The event will include a tour of the engineering facilities at Cornwall College Camborne and demonstrations of state-of-the-art rapid prototyping technology which SMEs can access through BIKE; including 3D printing, CNC and CAD/CAM.

Knowledge Exchange manager Deborah Bennetts said: “BIKE provides subject specialists and access to equipment to SMEs in the marine, manufacturing, engineering, environmental, food processing and creative sectors. We are incredibly proud of the work we have done through this project, helping businesses to innovate, test and develop new processes and bring new and improved products to market.”

Guests are also invited to take part in a Q&A session with a panel including Marc Priestly, technical consultants from the BIKE project and the engineering industry, who will be discussing innovation, the development of new products and processes and the opportunities available to Cornish businesses. 

Businesses will also have the opportunity to network over lunch with engineering students, consultants and industry leaders; as well as learn more about the fully-funded support available through BIKE.                                       

The event will be held at the Cornwall College Camborne campus on Thursday 22nd January between 9.30am -1.30pm. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

Anyone interested in attending can find out more and reserve their place online at the Eventbrite page by searching ‘Cornwall Engineering Industry Event’.



Contact: Nicholas Pearson - Business Innovation and Knowledge Exchange – Marketing, Communications & Events Officer 01326 567327 / 07818091490 / [email protected]

Notes to Editors:

BIKE describes the activities of The Cornwall College Group through the South West Innovation Accelerator Project (SWIAP). SWIAP events and activities are currently funded with an investment from the European Regional Development Fund through the Convergence Programme for Cornwall & Isles of Scilly until the end of June 2015.

Thursday 15 January 2015