A skills partnership between Nissan and Sunderland College that bridges the gap between education and the world of work has been launched.

The Nissan Academy, which will be based at the College’s City Campus will see students study for a specialised engineering qualification alongside their GCSEs.

Supported by the College and a team of experts from Nissan, pupils will be able to hone the technical skills needed for a career in advanced manufacturing and engineering. Upon successful completion of the programme, they will be guaranteed an apprenticeship assessment with Nissan.

Academy students will split their time between the College’s technical City Campus and the Nissan plant where they will benefit from access to industry experts, state-of-the-art equipment and facilities, as well as unique projects and experiences.

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.”

Students will study for a Level 2 qualification in Engineering, the equivalent of a GCSE.

The new partnership will build on Nissan’s established and successful commitment to school engagement through the Nissan Skills Foundation.  Over the last eight years, the Foundation has seen 85k young people aged between 9-18 attend one of their unique STEM activities.

The initial cohort will be from St Wilfred’s R.C. College who are part of Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust, with the level two qualification available to new students from September 2023.

Pupils will also receive a guaranteed unconditional offer to continue their education at Sunderland College upon graduating from the Academy.

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 Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust, said: “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.”

The Nissan Academy comes at an exciting time for Nissan Sunderland Plant, which has just built its 11 millionth vehicle and is pushing forward with its EV36Zero project.

This exciting project consists of three main elements: a new electric vehicle, a 12GWh gigafactory with the company’s battery partner Envision AESC, and a microgrid to deliver 100% renewable energy to Nissan and suppliers.