STUDENTS were made honorary Mackems when they spent a month in their twin town on an exchange visit.
Three German students have been living and working in Sunderland for a month as part of an enterprising scheme with the city’s twin town, Essen.
We have organised our own Essen exchange for some time and it’s great to see other companies in the city getting involved.Ralph Saelzer, Liebherr
Sunderland City Council has backed this year’s extension of the annual Krupp Foundation’s Apprenticeship programme, which has run for years with crane manufacturer Liebherr, on the banks of the River Wear.
Essen student Rebecca Kiss spent her time at Liebherr and Sunderland Software Centre-based Rymote has hosted students Sevval Gümüsok and Mariana Nestar.
Sunderland and Essen, which were twinned in 1949 and signed an official Declaration of Friendship in 1979, are both areas with a strong industrial heritage.
This year’s apprentices have spent four weeks working full-time in the city, and taking part in cultural and social activities with Liebherr and Rymote staff, their host families and through Sunderland University.
Their visit was rounded off with a reception hosted by the mayor and their hosts.
The council’s international manager Catherine Auld, said: “The Krupp Foundation has financed the apprenticeship programme for many years and this year, we worked with it to extend the scheme within Sunderland to three students.
“Liebherr independently organises its own student placement each year through the company’s own connections with Essen, but this year the council invited Rymote to get involved too.”
Sevval said: “Sunderland itself is a very beautiful city with lots of things to see and filled with nice people.
“In Sunderland everything seems to be so connected and central that we found it was no problem to walk or get to sights alone, as the people especially were very friendly and always helpful when we lost track of our way sometimes.”
Liebherr Sunderland’s managing director, Ralph Saelzer, said: “We have organised our own Essen exchange for some time and it’s great to see other companies in the city getting involved with this really valuable scheme.
“We’ll be sad to see Rebecca go and hope she has enjoyed her time with us as much as we’ve enjoyed having her.”