STUDENTS from Sunderland’s French twin town have been getting in gear with Wearside’s automotive industry.
The group from Saint-Nazaire have spent three months helping with vehicle manufacturing and research as part of their engineering exchange programme.
Two students have been working at Tacle UK, in Rainton Bridge and two at the University of Sunderland’s Institute of Advanced Manufacturing and Automotive Practice (AMAP) at Hylton Riverside.
Christopher Lethuillier and Ludovic Morisson helped Tacle, which manufactures seats for the automotive sector, make its production process more efficient.
They developed designs, sourced machine parts, devised programming and their solutions can now be used as standard practice.
At AMAP, Florian de la Torre and Yohann Langlois worked on a project to help improve outreach work the university does with regional companies.
Mayor of Sunderland Coun Norma Wright met the students when she toured Tacle.
She said: “Sunderland is proud of the international links it has built up and what’s even better is that everyone can benefit from an exchange programme like this.
“The students have had some real experience of the world of manufacturing and production and the companies have gained too with some extra expertise.”
The programme was organised by Sunderland City Council’s international team working closely with the university and Tacle UK.
This is the third year city companies have hosted work placement students from Polytech’ Nantes.
Students have been staying in university accommodation and it is the second year both Tacle and AMAP have taken part in the programme.
Jim Casey, Tacle plant manager, said: “Christopher and Ludovic integrated well and their contribution has been very much appreciated.
“We are pleased to have been able to provide them with some real and valuable work experience which will be very useful to them in their future careers.”
The links between us and them
Saint-Nazaire was chosen to be twinned with Sunderland as they share a common maritime and shipbuilding heritage.
The town, which has a population of 70,000, stands at the mouth of the Loire on the Atlantic Coast of France and is one of France’s major ports and shipbuilding centres.
Sunderland established its twinning link with Saint-Nazaire in 1953.