Youngsters put on road to success in six-day challenge at Nissan

Students testing a vehicle at the Skills Academy for Sustainable Manufacturing and Innovation.
Students testing a vehicle at the Skills Academy for Sustainable Manufacturing and Innovation.
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Youngsters hope they are on the road to successful careers after taking part in a six-day challenge.

Pupils from St Wilfrid’s RC College, in South Shields, joined learners from Career College North East (CCNE) at the Skills Academy for Sustainable Manufacturing and Innovation (SASMI) - located next to car manufacturer Nissan’s Wearside plant.

Each student was inspired by the programme and by what they saw of the Nissan plant

Ian Fawdon

They were given a valuable insight at the training facility.

The group split into two teams of eight to test themselves on TRY Z an advanced problem solving programme used by Nissan.

They also worked in a classroom workshop, competing to set up a mini factory.

The students used the components from a real production line to help build and develop a wheeled vehicle, before testing them for speed, quality and overall operational capavility.

Manufacturing expert Ian Fawdon, a work based learning manager at South Tyneside College, said: “Each student was inspired by the programme and by what they saw of the Nissan plant.

“While very challenging, TRY Z gave the students a fascinating and instructive insight into manufacturing processes and into what makes Nissan such an exceptionally successful vehicle maker.

“Although competitive, the course was not so much about the physical making of the vehicles, although that was important part of the experience.

“It was equally about showing how the various parts of the manufacturing process can be made more efficient, with each person understanding their role in it and how their skills contribute to the whole.”

He added: “Of the students taking part, two were female, and I would hope that their enjoyment of taking part in TRY Z, and of their academic studies, will encourage more girls into manufacturing.

“It’s great that these young people have been able to gain this fantastic experience. It is something that will significantly add to their CVs.”

CCNE launched in 2015 to teach engineering, advanced manufacturing and computer science to 14 to 19-year-olds.

The students’ visit was part of the national Industrial Cadets scheme, which aims to introduce young people to the workplace.

Supported by Nissan and other major manufacturers, including GlaxoSmithKline and BAE Systems, it aims to engage them in industry-based activities to develop personal skills and raise careers awareness.

Completing TRY Z gained those who took part a nationally recognised Silver award, which gets them UCAS points, helping them towards university.