For centuries, Oxford has enjoyed international recognition as having one of the world’s best known and highly-regarded universities and draws thousands of visitors from around the globe every year. But many people don’t know that Oxford has a deeply embedded technical and industrial history. 100 years ago, in 1913, William Morris decided to open a car plant in Cowley, originally producing the “Bullnose Morris”. The plant currently employs over 4,000 workers, 1,000 robots producing a massive 175,000 vehicles in 2016 alone.
The Business and Enterprise students at Yarnton Manor ventured out yesterday to the Mini Plant, to gain a first-hand experience of business at the production stage. Students walked along the assembly hall, following the production of one vehicle, from the initial empty metal shell, right through to the finishing touches of the interior. Viewing a full production line enabled the students to experience efficiency, process management and flow, a massive army of precision controlled robots dancing to a millimetre-perfect ballet of engineering excellence with perfect timing. Students gained a new perspective seeing the assembly hall and production line first hand. The hard work that goes in behind the glamour of showrooms and advertisements was very new to many students, but also fascinating, even for those not so interested in cars.
On return to the Manor, students were greeted by a warm dinner in the Long Gallery before gathering to welcome the Birds of Prey team. The students were enlightened on the natural behaviour of magnificent birds, learning about their natural habitats, feeding patterns and the art of flight. Students then began a stage combat workshop, learning the methods actors use to fool an audience into believing the fighting is real. Fake punches, exaggerated dives and false noises had the students in fits of laughter throughout the workshop.