“There are times, perhaps when you are sat in a budget meeting, that it feels very much like a job, but the truth is that I am exceedingly privileged to do what I do,” says Unsworth. “I’m still in or around cars about 30% of the time, and I just try to appreciate those moments more, because the more mundane parts of work give me perspective.
“You don’t need week after week of testing a new car on a race track to know you are lucky.”
Unsworth’s career began with a Rover Group apprenticeship aged 16 and has led him to work on projects for Land Rover, BMW and Jaguar (including a stint developing a canned Jag sports car prior to the F-Type) before joining Bentley. He ascribes a significant amount of his success to having an inspirational role model and leader in the form of Chris Porritt, formerly of Land Rover, Aston Martin and Tesla, and now at Apple. “Chris developed a group of passionate people around him – and they set a standard that we aspired to meet. We shared knowledge and did our jobs with enthusiasm and got better as a result,” says Unsworth.
Now, as a team leader, Unsworth tries to set a similar tone. The biggest challenge, he admits, is staying in touch with what the dynamics team are doing while also taking on increasing responsibilities as his talents are recognised. “
As well as dynamics, my team is responsible for electronic stability control and driver assistance systems,” he says.
“There are a lot of meetings, both within the group and with suppliers, but it is crucial that, as well as explaining what we want to be doing and planning it all, I stay in touch with what we are actually doing. Part of my job is ensuring my team has all it needs to do its job to the highest standards, and part of it is joining it to offer my input and make sure that I can connect the planning to the final product.”
Steve Morris, managing director at Morgan Motor Company
Morgan isn’t just a car company. It is an icon of the automotive world. And it is run by Steve Morris, who aged 16 was stuffed into a suit and driven to company doors by his dad to ask if they had any jobs available. He recalls: “The first time, they said no. The second time, they said no. I don’t know if my dad was persistent or knew something, but back we went for a third time a few weeks later. I was taken on as a sheet metal apprentice.”