Xtrac apprentices help secure Queen’s Award for Enterprise

Automotive and motorsport specialist Xtrac has been presented with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Innovation category at a VIP event that also recognised the contribution made by the company’s apprentices.

The Thatcham-based firm received the accolade for its integrated lightweight electric vehicle transmission (ILEV) system, a gearbox family designed for the next generation of high-performance electric vehicles planned by manufacturers including Aston Martin and Lotus.

At the event on 29 October, the Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire Mr James Puxley presented James Setter, head of High-Performance Automotive at Xtrac, with the ‘Award for Innovation’ on behalf of HM The Queen.

VIPs attending included Kit Malthouse, MP for North West Hampshire and Minister of State in the Home Office. The Mayors of Thatcham and Newbury also took part.  Ian Wolloff, the Principal of Newbury College, which provides Xtrac apprentices with academic education, was also among the VIPs meeting members of the Xtrac team who developed its high-tech engineering solution for electric vehicles.

“We are thrilled that this award recognises our innovation,” said Xtrac’s CEO Adrian Moore.  “It’s a real honour for the company and not only underlines the opportunities for UK businesses to develop electric vehicles but also validates our investment in the technology, people and skills necessary to make it happen.”

Xtrac has had a comprehensive apprenticeship scheme in place for over 30 years, and apprentices played a crucial role in the design and manufacturing of the gearbox.

“The Queen’s Award for Enterprise is a prestigious accolade, richly deserved by one of West Berkshire’s most successful and innovative businesses,” said Laura Farris, Member of Parliament for Newbury.  “Xtrac has been an industry leader for many years and provides outstanding opportunities for young people in West Berkshire through its apprenticeship scheme and subsequent career paths. I am confident that Xtrac’s ILEV system will enhance Britain’s progress towards meeting our net-zero targets.”

The Queen’s Award highlights the continued growth of Xtrac’s High-Performance Automotive business stream, which focuses on its clients’ needs for advanced automotive engineering and the electric vehicles increasingly favoured by consumers.

“The Award for Innovation marks a momentous period for the company, which following the lockdown in March 2020, has remained operational, also participating in the Ventilator Challenge UK initiative,” said Moore.

Xtrac’s motorsports business continues to be relied on by teams in many racing formulae such as Formula One, as well as rally and sportscar racing events across the globe. Most recently, the company supplied gearboxes for the first 17 cars to pass the finish line at the renowned Le Mans 24 hrs race, which Xtrac has come to dominate in recent years.

Xtrac Apprentice of the Year 2020, Faye Cooke, is honoured during the Queen’s Award for Enterprise event
Demian Wieland receives the 2020 Mark O’Brien award. Nominees for the commemorative Mark O’Brien Award are employees supported by the company for a bachelor's degree or higher or equivalent qualification
Xtrac’s CEO Adrian Moore thanks The Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire, Mr James Puxley, for the Queen’s Award, acknowledging the honour it bestows upon the company and the validation of its innovative technology
Xtrac's Proposed Dedicated Apprentice Training Area
Queen's Award for Enterprise: Innovation