The 1995 British Grand Prix winner and Sky Sports commentator cut the ribbon at the site in Rushden, Northants, to celebrate a major strategic move by the adi Group, the Birmingham-based engineering company.

The multi-disciplinary firm has branched out into the region after identifying the range of technical skill sets available locally and for the flexibility the new base offers in servicing many key clients.

Johnny was the perfect choice to open the new facility – with staff, clients and key partners in attendance - as the group prides itself on the ‘right first time’ teamworking ethos inspired by Formula 1.

He said: “This is a fantastic facility on the doorstep of many of adi Group’s key current and future clients. It enables the adi Group to serve those clients even more efficiently, responding quickly in tune with their evolving needs. There will be high quality jobs for local people and wonderful training opportunities for what can be a rewarding as well as a highly-rewarded career.”

“Looking at this facility and hearing the firm’s plans, it is very well-placed to inspire the next generation of skilled engineers.”

With 30 staff already recruited and 70 more due over the next 18 months, the company has committed to a further 100 positions in the second phase of its development in 2021.

James Sopwith, Group Strategic Account Director, said it had been a pleasure to show clients the new capabilities of the 16,000 sq ft site, at Crown Way Industrial Estate. “The fact we already have 30 staff here and will look to push forward towards 200 employees during phase 2 in years 3 and 4, marks an exciting expansion of our geographical capabilities,” he said.

“More importantly, though, it also comes as great news for local jobs and for our clients in the region – current and future – to the needs of whom we can now rapidly respond.”

CEO of adi, Alan Lusty, said: “There’s a common misconception that engineering is a greasy, messy business, when in reality it’s about planning, precision and improvement,” he said. “It’s about finding solutions to problems and making things happen. So, it’s very satisfying and it pays very well.

“But, as a society, we’re not inspiring enough young people to get involved. That’s a problem in need of a solution.”

Alan explained how the company was committed to having a minimum of 5% of its workforce made up of full-time apprentices.

“We met and exceeded that aspiration ahead of schedule and this facility will most definitely help us go even further to that end,” he added.

“We know this area has people with the skills we need to solve problems for our clients, so the job opportunities our new capability here represents are great not only for us but also for our clients and, most importantly, for the local community.”