Thousands of jobs for South Tyneside after Nissan announces huge 'gigafactory' and new electric vehicle
Thousands of jobs are set to be created for people in South Tyneside after the news Nissan is to build a mammoth ‘gigafactory’ on a site part-owned by the borough.
The Japanese car giant has revealed it will build a new electric model and set up a huge battery plant at the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP), a joint venture between South Tyneside Council and Sunderland City Council, with 50% of the land owned by the borough.
More than 1,600 jobs will be created, with an estimated 4,500 more in supply chain companies under an investment of £1billion, with undisclosed financial support from the Government.
South Tyneside Council leader Tracey Dixon said it was ‘fantastic news’ for the borough, and work would get underway to ensure the area’s workforce was ready to take up jobs flowing into the plant.
"It's fantastic for us as a borough leading on such a massive project, in partnership with Sunderland,” she said.
"It's a real game-changer for us, bringing much-needed investment and jobs into the region."
She added: "For us, what is very important now is working with our young people to make sure we develop the right skills so they can access those thousands of job opportunities which are coming.”
Councillor Dixon said the council would now be working hard, with schools and colleges, to ensure young people had the right skills to take up job opportunities at the plant, and in supply chain companies.
“What we've got to do now is drive the agenda,” she said.
"Well done South Tyneside for helping this and driving this forward.”
Cllr Dixon added that the investment announcements would see many high quality jobs created in green industry, fitting in with South Tyneside Council’s ambitions to help tackle climate change.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson was at the plant on Thursday to celebrate the news, said far from Brexit hampering Nissan as had been feared, the company was using it as an opportunity to push forward.
"I always believed in the people of the North East and always believed that investment would continue to come here just because of the natural skills, the strength of the economy and the resource that is here,” he said.
Nissan chief operating officer Ashwani Gupta also visited the site on the day of the announcement.
He would not say how much financial backing the UK Government has given the project, but did say it was a fitting way to mark Nissan’s 35th anniversary of making cars in the North East.
“This is a £1billion birthday present for all of my colleagues here,” he said.
Lei Zhang, founder of the Envision AESC group which already makes electric batteries in Sunderland, said the project is a reward for the dedicated workers in the North East, adding he saw parallels with the region’s coal and shipbuilding industrial history.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “I am extremely proud that Nissan has not only reaffirmed its belief in Britain, but is doubling down on its long-standing commitment to our country.
“The cars made in this plant, using batteries made just down the road at the UK’s first at-scale gigafactory, will have a huge role to play as we transition away from petrol and diesel cars and kick-start a domestic electric vehicle manufacturing base.”