Wear open for business - city chief hails investment in Sunderland for sparking jobs bonanza

Inward investment from Just Eat, Ocado and Amazon is delivering real career opportunities for the people of Sunderland, as Coun Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, explains…

Monday, 30th August 2021, 5:00 am

Following Just Eat’s announcement this week that it is to create over 1,500 jobs in the city, we’re delighted to be delivering on our promise of ensuring Sunderland remains a desirable place to live, work and play.

Having already attracted Amazon and Ocado to the city in recent years - each of whom have created hundreds of jobs respectively – Sunderland is fast establishing itself as a city ready - and open - for business, providing employment opportunities for residents and helping drive the North East economy, both figuratively and literally.

I say literally, as just last month, Nissan and Envision AESC unveiled ambitious plans to invest up to £1billion into the development of a state-of-the-art battery gigafactory in Washington, delivering thousands of jobs across the automotive supply chain and further strengthening Sunderland’s reputation as being a European centre of excellence for advanced manufacturing and all things automotive.

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Sunderland City Council Leader Graeme Miller

Just last week, just down the road from Nissan on Cherry Blossom Way, I also had the pleasure of visiting another global automotive giant – Magna – for the official opening of its new facility.

When fully operational, this world-leading hub will deliver a further 280 jobs, with the aspiration that the company can enjoy further growth.

Much like Nissan and Envision, Magna made the decision to continue investing in Sunderland due to the city’s skilled workforce and the continued investment into the industry by both the private and public sectors, such as the International Advanced Manufacturing Park, which is being led by Sunderland City Council and South Tyneside Borough Council augmenting the area’s position as an advanced manufacturing powerhouse.

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300 jobs created as new Magna car parts plant opens in Sunderland to supply Niss...
Just Eat is taking over the former npower callcentre at Rainton Bridge

Having already attracted French automotive giant SNOP UK and Japanese vehicle trim manufacturer Faltec, the green light was given for the demolition of two derelict farm buildings that will pave the way for further development on IAMP, with the park expected to create over 7,000 jobs when it is fully complete.

And that’s not all.

Housebuilder Bellway relocated its Durham headquarters to Rainton Bridge this week and just last month Barclays announced plans to move 1,000 Barclaycard employees from Teesside to its Sunderland base at Doxford International Business Park, delivering yet more contact centre jobs alongside Just Eat, Royal Sun Alliance and The Co-operative Bank, all of whom are actively recruiting for roles in the city.

Looking to the future, economists may be forecasting a gloomy outlook for many of the UK’s core sectors, but with the delivery of the transformational Riverside Sunderland masterplan and the £60million Hillthorn Park – both of which have received significant backing from property giant Legal & General – we have high hopes that the ingenuity and hardworking nature of the people of Sunderland will continue to attract employers to the city and help drive the North East’s economic recovery post-covid.

Sunderland City Council Leader Coun Graeme Miller left(with General Manager of Magna Tony Park at the official opening of the firm's factory

However, as well as delivering jobs, we also made a commitment to deliver a Real Living Wage for the people of Sunderland, by working closely with businesses to combat low paid employment, and we’re delighted to be delivering on both fronts, with the percentage of people on less than the real living wage in the city now reaching a record low.

While there will undoubtedly be challenges along the way, Sunderland is a city undergoing a skyline-changing transformation not seen for generations, and I think I speak for everyone at Sunderland Labour Group when I say how excited we are to be driving this exciting journey which will deliver opportunities for generations to come…

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Nissan is developing a new battery plant with its partner Envision-AESC
Ocado was the first tenants to move into The Beam on the former Vaux brewery site. Pictured are Customer service team member Daniella Waller, Leader of the Council Graeme Miller, Ian Pattle general manager of Ocado, Customer service team member Russell Holt