Automotive giant Nissan is recruiting its highest number of apprentices and has hosted a Government Minister to mark the start of Apprenticeship Week.
The factory has 140 positions available in areas including manufacturing, maintenance, business administration and engineering, making it the largest intake in the plant’s 39-year history.
Since the opening of the plant in 1986, Nissan has employed more than 2,200 apprentices, with many going on to senior positions. The company’s commitment to apprenticeships and training has been praised by Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education Robert Halfon, who visited the plant yesterday.
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Alan Johnson, Nissan’s vice president for manufacturing at Sunderland, said: “There has never been a more exciting time to join our team. A place on our apprenticeship scheme brings an opportunity to progress within Nissan and to help shape our electrified future.”
Mr Halfon said: “Nissan’s forward-looking investment in Sunderland is symbolic of the industrial power of the North East, and they have provided a ladder of opportunity to over 2,000 apprentices in the region so far. It is really pleasing to see the company back that up with this commitment to future talent.
“Apprenticeships don’t just give businesses the skills they need, they also drive forward social mobility and the government’s plans to build a skills and apprenticeships nation.”
This month has also seen Nissan’s Skills Foundation deliver training to its 75,000th child in the North East. The Foundation, which launched in 2013, enables students to experience automotive design, engineering and manufacturing that takes place at the Sunderland plant through a range of workshops, competitions and practical activities.
The announcement from Nissan came as the plant’s global corporation finalised details of its revised partnership with Renault group, which sees the companies equalising shareholdings at 15%, and Nissan taking a stake in Ampere, an electric vehicle and software company founded by Renault.
The Nissan-Renault alliance began in 1999, at a time when the Japanese car maker was in tough financial straits. But recent disparities have been a cause of friction, especially after Nissan became far more profitable than Renault.
The alliance also includes smaller Japanese automaker Mitsubishi.