Nissan has announced a major expansion of its schools engagement activities in the UK, using electric vehicles, motorsports and its manufacturing excellence to excite thousands of young people about careers in industry.
A range of workshops, competitions, practical activities and facility tours will see more than 15,000 students experience the innovation and excitement of 21st century automotive design, engineering and manufacturing over the next two years.
Under the umbrella of the Nissan Skills Foundation, the new initiatives include sponsorship of F1 in Schools, a competition bringing the thrill of Formula 1 racing into classrooms across North East England. Other activities include Industrial Cadets plus the Nissan Blue Citizenship programmes Eco School and Monozukuri Caravan.
The initiative has been announced as Nissan once again supports the UK Government’s ‘See Inside Manufacturing’ programme by opening its doors to give young people a unique behind-the-scenes insight into its UK operations.
Kevin Fitzpatrick, Nissan’s Vice President for Manufacturing in the UK, said: “The Nissan Skills Foundation has been created to inspire the next generation of British design, engineering, and manufacturing talent.
“There are many elements of this wider programme, which will be the focus of our community activity in North East England and will excite many thousands of young people about science and engineering.”
Commenting on the Nissan Skills Foundation, Skills Minister Nick Boles said: “I am delighted that employers like Nissan are playing such an important role in inspiring children and young people to take up careers in manufacturing, science and engineering.
“Alongside the See Inside Manufacturing scheme, the Nissan Skills Foundation will help children and young people to understand the value of careers in this sector and ensure that businesses have the skills they need to grow.”
The F1 In Schools programme gives children a chance to gain new skills by running their own motorsport team, not just racing model cars but learning about the engineering, design, logistics and management required to get a car on the road. Sponsored by Nissan, regional entries will create their racing cars in the company’s Global Training Centre in Sunderland, with a view to progressing into national and even international races.
The second new activity is an expansion of the Nissan Blue Citizenship Eco Schools programme, which was first launched in Japan and teaches students about Nissan’s approach to finding solutions to global environmental issues using fun, interactive experiences.
Students discover how electric vehicles work and even get to build a model EV and their own wind farm before experiencing the world’s best-selling electric vehicle from the passenger seat of an all-electric Nissan LEAF.
Nissan is also expanding its Monozukuri Caravan workshops for year 6 pupils (age 10-11), which is a hands-on, interactive workshop celebrates Nissan’s Monozukuri, the Japanese term for ‘the art of making things’. Over 1,000 pupils attended a Monozukuri Caravan last year and it is already fully booked to the end of 2014.
Nissan is also running a number of smaller, more intensive programmes including the Industrial Cadets for pre-GCSE pupils (year 9) and the Engineering Education Scheme, both of which offer students the chance to tackle hands-on real life industrial and science-based challenges.
Nissan’s See Inside Manufacturing activities see 2,500 schoolchildren visit Sunderland Plant every year over a two-week period as part of a national partnership between Government and Industry created to transform students perception of manufacturing in strategic sectors
Adrian Smart, Human Resources Director at Nissan Sunderland Plant, added: “There is also a serious message behind all these activities for children, parents and teachers. Whether it is the opportunity to travel the world to visit plants in Japan, North America or Russia, commission a new fleet of robots or drive home the new car that you’ve been responsible for building – manufacturing and engineering offer long-term and inspiring careers.”
The schools which have already visited Nissan include Swalwell Primary School in Gateshead, whose Deputy Headteacher Peter Hampson said: “The children love coming. They gain so much from the experience they have here with Nissan. They learn teamwork skills, they learn all about the possibility of careers in industry, they learn about the production process and they just really love every single second they spend here.
“It’s really interesting for both the boys and the girls to see what’s available, to find out what fantastic opportunities there are and therefore to think how they may like to plan their careers.”
The Nissan Skills Foundation will have a dedicated team based at Nissan Sunderland Plant who will be able to support schools by explaining the careers available in manufacturing and the different activities available for schools to access. Teachers can get more information by contacting Heather Corrigan via email at Heather.firstname.lastname@example.org or on (0191) 415 2035.