MORE than 30,000 children from across North East England have now taken part in Skills Foundation events at Nissan’s Sunderland Plant.
The initiative, which launched in 2014, is designed to encourage young people to take up Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects, and generate excitement about careers in industry by offering a unique insight into the world of advanced manufacturing and engineering.
Kevin Fitzpatrick, Divisional Vice President at Nissan Sunderland Plant, said: “It is terrific to have given more than 30,000 North East youngsters the chance to see the world of manufacturing first hand.
“The North East skills base is one of the reasons we have grown to become the UK’s largest ever car plant. We are determined to do all we can to inspire future generations of engineering and manufacturing talent through our school engagement activities.”
Activities run by the Nissan Sunderland Plant Skills Foundation include:
• F1 in Schools, a competition bringing the thrill of Formula 1 racing into classrooms across the region.
• Industrial Cadets, a scheme aiming to introduce students to the world of manufacturing and industry.
• Nissan Blue Citizenship programme Eco School, an activity that teaches students about Nissan’s approach to finding solutions to global environmental issues.
• Monozukuri Caravan, a hands-on interactive workshop celebrating the art of making things.
The 30,000 milestone was reached during an Engineering Discovery event held at the plant during the first two weeks in November, which was attended by almost 2,000 11 to 13 year old students from 38 schools across the North East.
Targeted at children before they choose their GCSE subjects, the groups of pupils learned about modern car manufacturing, watched the Qashqai, Juke and LEAF being made on the production line, took part in educational games, and found out how engineers have supported and improved the manufacturing process at the plant over its 30 year history.
“The Skills Foundation is all about encouraging local youngsters from all backgrounds to consider a future in industry by showing them the opportunities that exist within the automotive sector. With the UK’s largest car plant on the doorstep, there is no better place for young people to experience the world of manufacturing and engineering”, said Ian Green, Section Manager at Nissan Skills Foundation.
To further support the uptake of STEM subjects and promote careers in industry, Nissan Sunderland Plant is this year registering all of its Apprentices and Graduates on the STEM Ambassador programme allowing them to share their experience and skills with young people.
The very first pilot event, a Monozokuri Caravan, took place in June 2013 and welcomed pupils from Gillas Lane Primary School in Houghton-le-Spring to the Nissan Sunderland Plant. This enabled them to create their own LEGO production line and provided them with the chance to use actual production hand tools. The Skills Foundation has since engaged with 350 schools from across the region, including in some of the most deprived areas in the UK.