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Land speed pioneer fronts industry event

The Construction Equipment Association (CEA) has announced that the keynote speaker at its ‘Constructing the Future’ conference in May will be Richard Noble, pioneer of the Thrust2 programme that brought the world land speed record back to Britain in the 1980s.

Noble is now the leader of the Bloodhound Project, aimed at inspiring young people to pursue careers in science, engineering, technology and maths.

The project includes developing a new car, Bloodhound SSC, which will take part in a race to reach 1,000mph (1,600km/hour) in South Africa later this year. The car will be driven by Andy Green, who was at the wheel of the JCB Dieselmax vehicle that secured the world record for a diesel-powered car in 2006, averaging over 350mph (560km/hour).

CEA chief executive, Rob Oliver, says the organisation has been “concerned for some time” about skills shortages and the need to do more to capture the imagination of school leavers and graduates, adding: “The Bloodhound Project is very much about enthusing the next generation of engineers about what can be achieved. This chimes in well with the CEA’s concern that manufacturing in the UK should be seen as a great career move – whether designing and producing a 1,000 mph car or manufacturing an environmentally friendly, low noise, excavator.

Noble’s talk will set the scene for a session on Educating for Business, which will include updates on the academy work being done by JCB and Caterpillar in the UK.

Other speakers include JCB chief corporate development officer David Bell, Caterpillar UK general manager Robert Droogleever, Off-highway Research senior analyst Colin Timms, Finning UK & Ireland MD Neil Dickinson, CEA president Nick Ground and Terry Scuoler CEO of manufacturers’ organisation EEF.

The event, which will be chaired by BBC News correspondent, Nick Higham, takes place in London on 15 May. If you are interested in attending email cea@admin.co.uk or call 020 8253 4502.

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