Nissan's Sunderland plant is in the running for a major honour to recognise its commitment to the workforce of the future.
The factory has been shortlisted for the inaugural National Industrial Cadets Awards to be held in London in early March.
Nissan is one of four contenders for the title of Industrial Cadets 'Employer of the Year', while Ian Green, a manager at the Nissan Skills Foundation, appears on the shortlist for 'Changemakers', individuals who champion the Industrial Cadets initiative within organisations and ensure its success.
Originally inspired by HRH The Prince of Wales, Industrial Cadets has become the leading organisation for accreditation of projects linking business and education across the country
Industrial Cadets accredits workplace experience activity offered by employers to young people and is growing, with more than 250 employers 800 schools and 10,000 young people taking part and accrediting more than 200,000 learner hours of workplace experience.
"Nissan have been activity participating in the Industrial Cadets accreditation since its early days," said Dr Gordon Mizner, Chief Executive of EDT, the education charity that co-ordinates Industrial Cadets.
"The accreditation is now an important part of the work of the Nissan Skills Foundation and the company, typified by the tireless work of Ian Green, are active in being advocates for the Industrial Cadet accreditation with their peers and suppliers."
Nissan has worked with hundreds of learners and dozens of schools in delivering programmes at Gold, Silver and Bronze levels. Every school taking part has asked to continue to be involved and to engage in other Industrial Cadet programmes.
Nissan is now seeing apprentice applications from past Industrial Cadets.
The firm has also been active in advocating Industrial Cadets to other organisations, supporting programmes by local companies Unipres and NAC Group. Pilot activities with the National Citizenship Service and Sunderland College are planned for 2017.
Ian Green has pioneered the Nissan Skills Foundation (NSF) from the original concept in 2012 to the current involvement of more than 150 schools and delivery of Industrial Cadet programmes at all levels. Industrial Cadets is at the core of the Foundation’s activity and it is currently the only formal accreditation that the Foundation takes part in.
He is also very active in promoting and supporting other employers to run Industrial Cadet activity, working nationally with other major manufacturers such as Toyota, Bentley and Jaguar and regionally through the North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA).
Steve Pallas, Training Manager with Nissan Manufacturing (UK) said: "From conception to promotion and delivery, Ian has been central to the success of the Skills Foundation and its core use of the Industrial Cadets accreditation.
"He is passionate about raising the aspirations of learners and increasing involvement in engineering, manufacturing and Nissan. He has driven the project forward and schools are actively chasing the Skills Foundation for more programmes.
"More than 100 Nissan employees have been involved in Industrial Cadets and directly and indirectly we have supported approaching a thousand Cadets.
"We also think it is crucial to spread the word about the effectiveness of Industrial Cadets to a wide range of our business connections as it is important that young people have every opportunity to come into contact with their local industries and to be inspired by the career opportunities they see there."