Car manufacturer Nissan has teamed up with a local college and a training firm to set up a training centre near its Sunderland plant.
The Ryhope Training Centre will provide training for Nissan and other big motor industry employees across the region.
The initiative is a response to research by the Automotive Sector Strategic Alliance (ASSA), which showed that the north east’s car industry will need 3,000 new recruits in the next three years. ASSA, based at Sunderland College, will provide the training for car workers.
Nissan has installed all the equipment at the centre, including a simulated production line, manufacturing cells and other shopfloor machinery.
The company plans to recruit 800 new staff to man a third production line manufacturing the replacement for the company’s Almera model, which goes into production in January 2000.
Initially, an intake of 200 new Nissan staff will train at the centre. The Sunderland plant already employs 4,200 staff.
Nissan UK managing director John Cushnagham said the trainees will undertake between three and eight weeks of training in technical skills and the work ethics of the Nissan plant. The Sunderland plant has the highest productivity of any car plant in Europe.
* Nissan has just merged with Renault and will also consider sharing production of some parts with the French car giant, according to Sir Ian Gibson, senior vice-president of Nissan Europe. Gibson is a former managing director of Nissan’s Sunderland factory.
He said Sunderland would share knowhow and eventually components with its partner, but would not produce Renault cars. The alliance would not affect Nissan’s planned expansion in the region, he added.
`In June, we will start looking at vehicle platforms that can be shared,’ said Gibson, `but in many cases these parts are so sophisticated that there is nothing to be gained through economies of scale.’
John Robinson writes for Personnel Today magazine