Automotive manufacturer Unipres has donated £2,000 to Biddick Academy in Washington to support its engineering department and girls in engineering.

Over 200 guests and many of the region’s major automotive companies including Unipres UK, Nissan Motor Corporation (UK) and Komatsu UK came together at the North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA) awards to celebrate outstanding individual talent and the spectacular achievements of companies flying the flag for the North East automotive sector.

A cheque for £2,000 was awarded to Unipres UK, in recognition of its strategy and enthusiasm towards engaging young people with science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects. Unipres UK was able to demonstrate its commitment to investing in future talent and how this has been critical in supporting internal succession planning and social mobility.

The School Engagement Award, sponsored by Invest South Tyneside, was collected by the Unipres UK team who have now donated this to Biddick Academy in Washington. The donation will be used in the school’s engineering department and will go towards funding a 3D printer and to encouraging more girls to take up engineering.

Kate Morris, head teacher at Biddick Academy, said: “We were delighted to hear that Unipres had won the School Engagement award at the North East Automotive Alliance Awards 2020. Biddick Academy is very fortunate to have Maureen Askew as our enterprise advisor and we are grateful for the opportunities that our students have enjoyed with Unipres, including the industry cadet programme and ‘Girls in STEM’.

“Biddick Academy embraces the opportunities that STEM education provides, and we are continuing to develop our STEM programme with Unipres. This funding will help us expand the range of additional activities we offer and enable us to invest in a 3D printer to allow our students to experience a wider range of modern technologies within our school environment.”

Maureen Askew, senior controller at Unipres UK, said: “I am delighted that Unipres has once again been recognised at the NEAA awards for our school engagement activity but more importantly we are thrilled to be able to then put this donation back into education to help inspire our future engineers.

“Unipres has been working with Biddick Academy for two years and we have really enjoyed helping students and seeing their enjoyment from the STEM activities we do. The school is incredibly proactive in engaging with industry and preparing students for future career opportunities.”

£14,500 was awarded to STEM engagement programmes and local schools to assist STEM projects, as a result of sponsorship raised at the awards dinner. Now in its third year, £47,500 has been raised to date. In addition, the evening also raised over £1,000 for the automotive charity Ben, who provide support for life to its people and their families.

Paul Butler, chief executive of the North East Automotive Alliance, said: “The NEAA awards evening enables the sector to come together and celebrate our great success stories. I would like to acknowledge all of our sponsors whose generosity allows our winners to donate their award money to support future talent and STEM projects. Unipres is a fantastic example of an organisation giving back to the local community.”