Prime Minister Rishi Sunak visits Xtrac

Xtrac welcomed UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to its Thatcham headquarters in Berkshire on Thursday, 14 March. Laura Farris, MP for Newbury, arranged the visit and accompanied the PM.

Kirsty Knight, people and culture director, Peter Digby, president of Xtrac, and Adrian Moore, chief executive officer, showed the Prime Minister around the company’s design and manufacturing facilities. The company operates 24 hours daily to create advanced gearboxes used by motorsports teams worldwide and in high-performance road cars. It exports around 70 per cent of its manufacturing output globally.

“It was great to meet the team at Xtrac today and talk about their world-class apprenticeship schemes,” the Prime Minister said on social media. “Xtrac is a West Berkshire success story. It’s a local Thatcham business that’s now at the heart of Formula 1, Indycar, and NASCAR successes all over the world. It’s also a shining example of apprenticeship success in manufacture and advanced engineering.”

“Xtrac is a great West Berkshire success story that has grown exponentially in recent years. It was such a pleasure to welcome Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to Thatcham to meet the brilliant team and visit their outstanding apprenticeship academy,” said Laura Farris, commenting on social media. The MP officially opened the Xtrac Academy, a dedicated apprenticeship facility providing hands-on manufacturing and computer-aided engineering skills training for apprentices, in March 2022. “Over the years, Xtrac has trained more than 180 apprentices in advanced manufacturing and engineering, many of whom have gone on to accomplish great things at Xtrac and beyond.”

Adrian Moore informed the Prime Minister the worldwide automotive industry is going through a transformation that only happens once in a generation. “This transformation involves the evolution of the automobile from internal combustion engine vehicles to decarbonised electric propulsion. Xtrac’s highly skilled and capable staff in the UK and the USA show agility and innovation time after time, which is essential for the vehicle’s transmission system, one of the crucial technologies required for this transition.”

The Berkshire-based automotive and motorsport specialist is no stranger to visits by government ministers and royalty. In November 2018, Xtrac welcomed UK Prime Minister Theresa May to open its new manufacturing facility extension in Thatcham, representing more than £22 million investment in UK manufacturing. The visit occurred before the company co-hosted a Festival of Engineering involving budding engineers from schools across West Berkshire and North West Hampshire.

Xtrac has trained apprentices since the 1990s and has worked locally with Newbury College to deliver its apprenticeships in advanced manufacturing since 2003. The investment in the Xtrac Academy is part of Xtrac’s ongoing business expansion, which has also provided additional state-of-the-art facilities in the UK and the USA and increased the factory’s capacity to meet growing global demand.

In 2020, the company was recognised for its technological innovation with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise, and in 2018 and again in 2021, it received the Princess Royal Training Award. In 2022, a visit by HRH followed a rigorous assessment of its apprenticeship programme by the City & Guilds Group.

One in seven (14%) of its more than 490 current employees started with the company as apprentices or undergraduates. Its first-ever apprentice, Simon Short, who qualified in 1993, remains with the company and holds a senior role in Xtrac’s North American operations.

In addition to providing apprenticeships, Xtrac offers an award-winning undergraduate scheme, a work experience scheme for pupils from years 10, 11 and 12, and summer internships for university students. For more information on Xtrac Academy schemes, please visit:

Images courtesy of Edward Massey/CCHQ

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak discusses Xtrac’s training programme with James O’Hagan, apprentice trainer (left) and Will Harvey, apprentice (right), accompanied by chief executive officer Adrian Moore.
From left to right, Xtrac’s chief executive officer Adrian Moore and Rishi Sunak are pictured with Peter Digby, president of Xtrac, and Stephen Gomm, grinding team leader.
From left to right, Martin Carrick, gear-cutting team leader, is pictured with Rishi Sunak, chief executive officer Adrian Moore and Laura Farris MP.
Apprentice Katie Fowler is pictured with Rishi Sunak and chief executive officer Adrian Moore.