SUNDERLAND, UK, 20 January 2015 —— HRH The Prince of Wales visited Nissan’s Sunderland plant to see production of the 100-per cent electric Nissan LEAF and to learn about the Nissan Skills Foundation, a job-creation programme in the UK.
His Royal Highness has a relationship with the plant that dates back almost 30 years. During a trip to Japan in 1986, the Prince of Wales took part in a traditional Japanese Daruma ceremony to mark the start of production at the newly constructed Sunderland plant and rode in one of Nissan’s ground breaking electric vehicles at the company’s Zama plant.
During this visit, The Prince of Wales was shown how a further 29 years of electric vehicle technology have helped make Nissan’s electric LEAF the best-selling electric car in history. He also met apprentices and employees involved in the project.
The LEAF, which went into production at the plant in 2013, is the world’s first mass-produced 100-per cent electric vehicle with sales of 33,000 vehicles in Europe and over 158,000 vehicles globally.
Paul Willcox, chairman of Nissan Europe, hosted The Prince.
“We were honoured to receive a visit from The Prince of Wales,” said Willcox. “With a keen, lifelong interest in sustainability, His Royal Highness was interested to see LEAF production as well as hear about Sunderland’s achievements as one of the UK’s most successful car plants.”
Following the tour of the production line, The Prince of Wales visited Nissan’s Global Training Centre, which is part of Gateshead College’s Skills Academy for Sustainability, Manufacturing and Innovation. Nissan vice president of Manufacturing, Kevin Fitzpatrick, introduced him to some of the schools engagement activities, which form the Nissan Skills Foundation.
“Nissan launched the Skills Foundation last year with the aim of using everything from electric vehicles to Formula One to encourage young people to take up careers in manufacturing and engineering,” said Fitzpatrick. “As one of the region’s largest employers, it’s important that Nissan take a lead role. I was delighted for the opportunity to show The Prince of Wales just some of the activities that we offer the region’s schools.”
The Prince met with pupils from Gillas Lane Primary School in Sunderland, St Cuthbert’s in Newcastle and the Venerable Bede, Sunderland who were taking part in Nissan Skills Foundation activities, which include the Industrial Cadets programme.
Inspired by His Royal Highness back in 2010, the Industrial Cadets programme helps raise the awareness of the job opportunities that exist in the manufacturing sector. So far over 100 local secondary school children have completed the course at Nissan with another 100 due to take part during this academic year.
[Source : Nissan]