A former warehouse at Ford’s European parts hub in Daventry has been transformed into a state-of-the-art training centre, creating an impressive environment for upskilling the workforce and retaining top talent. It is also used as a location for vehicle launch events.

The new Henry Ford Academy for the company’s UK dealer network is a great example of how existing assets can be re-purposed cost-effectively to improve the performance of sites.

Ford Daventry Training Centre | Royal HaskoningDHV

From redundant warehouse to state-of-the-art training academy

Building on a relationship stretching back more than 50 years, Ford Motor Company UK tasked Royal HaskoningDHV with the challenge of repurposing the unused warehouse into a training and vehicle launch centre that was fit for the future.

The aim was to create a space to inspire and energise Ford’s dealer network while working with the constraints presented by the light-weight steel-framed structure. Virtual 3-d representations of the plans enabled management at all levels of the organisation to buy in to the vision.

It was more sustainable to repurpose the building than demolish and start from scratch. The finished result connects with the history of the site while presenting a modern training environment with excellent energy efficiency and environmental performance. It also makes an attractive location for vehicle launch events.

Winning the war for talent

Ford’s multi-million-pound investment has delivered an inspiring glazed building which includes a 200-seat tiered auditorium, classrooms, workshop and dealership training facilities, a restaurant which serves 300 people, and a vehicle showroom for role play training.

The facility is open to technicians, sales staff and management throughout Ford’s national dealer network and fully reflects the diverse operations of a dealership.

The dedicated national training college reinforces Ford’s competitive advantage in the war to attract and retain top industry talent. It also showcases how existing buildings can be designed and refitted to fulfil a new purpose more sustainably than a new development.

Multi-purpose is the new mantra at manufacturers’ sites

Historically, manufacturers’ large-scale sites were designed and constructed with a singular purpose in mind. Increasingly however, manufacturers are realising that by repurposing assets, they can bring new functions and activities onto their sites to improve performance.

Alongside training and launch facilities, such activities include experience centres, tours, even racing tracks, which offer additional revenue streams and added value across the company’s operations.

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Santosh Patel

Consultant Civil & Mechanical & Electrical Engineering

Peterborough, UK

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