Les Ratcliffe, Jaguar Land Rover’s Head of Community Relations, has been appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for outstanding service to the community in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.
Les became Head of Community Relations in 1998 and has made a significant, positive impact across Jaguar Land Rover operations in the UK, as well as helping shape the company’s corporate social responsibility agenda globally. Working closely across the West Midlands, Coventry, Warwickshire and the North West with organizations such as Business in the Community (BITC), strategic partnerships and local communities, Les has developed a wide-reaching community relations program which includes business relationships, education, employee volunteering and charitable support.
It’s a huge honour to be awarded an MBE. My 43 years’ service has been an extraordinary journey, starting with Jaguar after serving in the Parachute Regiment. I am passionate about the opportunity to put Jaguar Land Rover at the heart of the communities we do business in. Our programme focuses on inspiring young people from all areas of the community and supporting vulnerable and disadvantaged children. I feel privileged to have been part of Jaguar Land Rover’s commitment to future talent and helping our sites to build meaningful, long-term relationships in the community as a socially responsible company.
— Les Ratcliffe, Jaguar Land Rover’s Head of Community Relations
He was part of the team which helped the company win BITC’s Responsible Business of the Year 2013 and was made the Prince of Wales’ Business in the Community Ambassador for the West Midlands 2008. In 2011 he was granted the City of Coventry Award of Merit for outstanding personal contribution to Jaguar Land Rover while promoting community relations in the city.
Les established the company’s award-winning ‘Inspiring Tomorrow’s Engineers’ school STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths) program, which comprises six Education Business Partnership Centres at its UK sites as well as STEM Challenge competitions. More than 2.9 million school children across the UK have participated in the program since 1999 and 2 million more young people will take part globally by 2020, including at new education centers in Brazil and Slovakia. Les and his team developed the ‘Inspiring Tomorrow’s Workforce’ traineeship for unemployed young people in 2014 to help young people improve their employability skills and gain employment in the automotive industry.
Les is chairman of the Coventry and Warwickshire Champions and NSPCC business groups.
He has led Jaguar Land Rover’s engagement with the military for many years. The company was one of the first to sign up to the Armed Forces corporate covenant. Les worked with colleagues from across the business to develop a training program for early service leavers and a placement scheme for wounded ex-military personnel that offers work experience leading to full-time employment. Jaguar Land Rover has recruited 200 ex-military staff to date and hopes to increase this to 1,000 by 2020.
It is fantastic to see Les’s contribution recognised in Her Majesty’s New Year Honours List with the award of an MBE. The bulk of his 43-year career with Jaguar Land Rover has been spent promoting education, skills, training and UK manufacturing as well as being a tireless servant to the communities in which our business operates. In particular, thousands of young people have been inspired to choose a career in manufacturing and engineering because of his efforts, which has hugely benefited both Jaguar Land Rover and the UK.
— Dr Ralf Speth – CEO, Jaguar Land Rover
Note: Press release courtesy Jaguar Land Rover.