Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne today (Friday 27 February) announced £1.4 million of funding for Nissan to support the company in creating the skills base needed to build its next generation of Infiniti model in the UK. Nissan will match-fund the contribution and the £2.8 million project will support intensive training for 1,742 staff.
Nissan is one of six companies selected under the government’s Employer Ownership of Skills Fund, which helps UK engineering employers address skills shortages. Overall, the government is providing £2.8 million of business-led projects creating new specialist skills and careers in the engineering industry, matched by an equal cash contribution from employers.
The news came after the Chancellor had earlier outlined a long term economic plan for the North East at a speech in Stockton which included plans to add an extra £6 billion to the region’s economy by 2030, create 50,000 new jobs and deliver £4.5 billion investment in transport in the North East, the largest in a generation.
On a visit to the company’s Sunderland base, the Chancellor met with Nissan’s manufacturing executives who explained how the funding will help ensure the successful launch of the Infiniti brand in the UK.
The Chancellor said:
Our long term economic plan for the North East is all about building on the area’s strengths like manufacturing and engineering and the funding will ensure that companies like Nissan have the right skills base to continue to innovate and grow. It’s exciting news that Nissan are launching a new car brand in the UK for the first time in 23 years and the government is making sure it provides the support it can to deliver this.
Kevin Fitzpatrick, Nissan’s Vice President of UK Manufacturing said:
The start of production for Infiniti later this year will be a major milestone for Sunderland. It will be the first new car brand to be manufactured on this scale in the UK for 23 years and represents a major investment in both our people and facilities.
We were delighted to welcome the Chancellor to Sunderland and to explain to him how the Employee Ownership of Skills Fund will support the up-skilling of our workforce and help ensure the successful launch of the Infiniti brand in the UK.
Nissan today also launched its 2015 Maintenance Technician apprenticeship scheme – a five year apprenticeship scheme for 25 young people that has been running since the plant first opened in 1986.