Young people on Wearside will have the opportunity to study engineering at the UK’s largest car making plant. The Nissan Academy has launched as a partnership between the automotive giant and Sunderland College, and will see students supported by both college tutors and experts from the factory.
From September, learners will work towards a Level 2 qualification in engineering, alongside their GCSEs, and a guaranteed apprenticeship assessment with the global manufacturer.
Time will be split between the college campus and the factory, and pupils will also receive a guaranteed unconditional offer to continue their education at Sunderland College after graduating from the Academy. The first cohort will come from St Wilfred’s RC College in South Shields, which is part of the Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust.
Michael Jude, HR director at Nissan Sunderland Plant, said: “The students of today are the engineers and manufacturers of the cars of tomorrow and we are passionate about nurturing and refining the talent of the future. This partnership will benefit our plant as well as the wider supply chain as the North East region pushes towards becoming an electric vehicle manufacturing hub.”
Ellen Thinnesen, chief executive of Education Partnership North East and Sunderland College, said: “Having invested meaningful engagement over time with our partners at Nissan and Bishop Chadwick, together we have designed a superb curriculum combining GCSEs, a technical qualification and a co-created Skills Framework.
Leaving the Academy with both a qualification and Nissan Skills certificates, this opportunity particularly gives Academy pupils competitive advantage over their peers, accelerates a pipeline of future Nissan employees, and ticks every box in terms of ambitious education and skills policy.”
Brendan Tapping, chief executive of the Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust, added: “We are delighted to be working in partnership to provide a blend of vocational learning and academic education. This is an exciting opportunity providing pupils with not only great qualifications, and high-quality work experience, but also support to develop the attributes expected by future employers.
This gives our students an advantage in an increasingly competitive jobs market, allowing them to be the best version of themselves.”
Nissan’s Sunderland plant, which employs about 6,000 people, has just celebrated the 11 millionth vehicle leaving its production lines. The milestone comes 37 years after the facility opened and amid the company’s EV36Zero project which includes new electric vehicle production, a 12GWh gigafactory with battery partner Envision AESC, and plans to deliver 100% renewable energy to Nissan and suppliers.