Ian, 54, established the foundation in 2012 to bridge the gap between Nissan and schools, promoting apprenticeships and graduate entry.
Since then it has engaged with more than 350 schools, growing from 335 children and four schools in 2012 to more than 12,000 students and over 180 schools annually, including more than 500 people with disabilities from nine special schools.
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The foundation has been awarded the Quality Badge by the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom and Ian was named as the Changemaker of the Year at the National Industrial Cadets Awards in 2017 and recognized in as one of the Top 100 people in Manufacturing a year later.
Using experience as a school governor, he developed the Monozukuri (the art of making) Caravan program for primary-age children to meet the requirements of the National Curriculum and has developed additional programs for older children, developing the most successful Prince of Wales Industrial Cadet program in the country and co-ordinating the largest network of Formula One in Schools teams regionally in the country.
He set up the Girls in Monozukuri, Manufacturing & Engineering (GIMME) program, a half-day conference run four times a year to provoke and inspire Y9-13 girls through the experience of other women in engineering.
In November 2021, the foundation reached the landmark of 70,000 young people having been on the various programs.
Learning he had been nominated was ‘just so unexpected’, said Ian: “I was shocked – but also very, very proud,” he said.
"It is not something I have ever thought I would get, it is not something that happens to someone like me, but it is really nice to get the recognition.”
Now he is seeing the results of the program firsthand: “One of our new staff members, Lois Haywood, did the course when she was 11,” he said.
"She is now an 18-year-old and working for us.
“It is a huge honour and surprise to receive this fantastic award. I am extremely proud of the Nissan Skills Foundation and our apprenticeship programs, and their ongoing importance to skills development across our region.
"To be awarded an MBE is the icing on the cake.”
Alan Johnson, Vice President, Manufacturing, at Nissan Sunderland Plant, said: “This is richly deserved recognition for Ian, whose talent and dedication has played a major part in building our fantastic Skills Foundation and pushing forward our apprenticeships program.
“As a plant we are hugely proud of Ian and his team, not just for this award, but also for the vital work they do in developing the skills and talent that is vital for our exciting electrified future.”
The Nissan Sunderland Apprenticeship scheme is now open. For more information visit: https://careersatnissan.co.uk/nissan-apprenticeships/