Nissan helps beat youth unemployment in Sunderland

A view showing the dashboard being fitted on the production line of the Nissan Leaf electric car at the Nissan Plant, Sunderland.
A view showing the dashboard being fitted on the production line of the Nissan Leaf electric car at the Nissan Plant, Sunderland.
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NISSAN is putting Wearside’s youngsters on course for a better future.

The car giant has introduced a new training programme which will initially give 60 unemployed school-leavers invaluable work experience and the chance to apply for a job at its record-breaking Sunderland Plant.

The Nissan Youth Evolution Scheme (YES) offers 16 to 18-year-olds who are not in education, employment or training the opportunity to gain formal qualifications and experience life in the workplace.

Starting next month, the tailor-made 19-week course, run in partnership with training specialists the NAC Group and Derwentside College, involves 11 weeks of interactive learning followed by eight shadowing staff on the production line.

The scheme has been designed to help youngsters stuck in the Catch-22 position of being unable to find work because they lack experience.

Completing the course will mean formal qualifications in English and maths, a nationally-accredited Certificate in Preparation for Employment in the Engineering Manufacturing Industry and a certificate in vocational competence from the NAC Group.

The qualifications gained will be equivalent to the entry standards required to apply for a manufacturing apprenticeship or a full-time position at Nissan, depending on age, or to a company in the automotive supply chain, through the NAC Group.

The move comes as the latest figures show there were 1,010 people aged 16-18 claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in Sunderland last month.

Kevin Fitzpatrick, Nissan’s vice-president for manufacturing in the UK, said: “Nissan Sunderland Plant is enjoying a sustained period of growth on the back of continued demand for the models we make here – the Qashqai, Juke, Note and Leaf.

“Nissan takes great pride in the skills of its people, and this new initiative for school-leavers will give many young people some real-world work experience. For those taking part, it will also give them the necessary qualifications to begin a career in 21st-century advanced manufacturing.”

Susan Errington, director of business development at Derwentside College, said: “Having strong working relationships with a large number of experienced and renowned businesses, we feel that the young people being offered this training programme are incredibly fortunate to be working with such a high-profile company as Nissan.”

Applicants must be aged 16, 17 or 18 on September 2 this year and currently not in education, employment or training. Anyone interested can apply online at and follow the link to the Apprentices and Training Schemes section.

Jobless figures fall in Sunderland

THE number of people classed as looking for work across Wearside fell to its lowest level in almost five years last month.

There were 9,141 people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance across Sunderland in June, a fall of 655 on May and the lowest figure since December 2008, when there were 7,981 in receipt of the benefit. Across the North East, unemployment rose 4,000 over the quarter but was still down by 6,000 over the year.

North East Chamber of Commerce director of policy Ross Smith, said: “These estimates make for more disappointing reading for the North East. Unemployment continues to rise above the 10 per cent mark that we were regularly below in 2012, when significant regional progress was made.

“Following a relatively static period over the last five months, the employment rate is beginning to lose pace with the national figures.”