Global automotive giants Nissan is backing the Beacon of Light to provide school leavers with the essential skills they need to enter the world of work.
The company, which helped transform manufacturing in the North East and beyond when its Sunderland plant opened over 30 years ago, pledged its support to the Beacon at a special dinner at the Stadium of Light in February.
Senior Management from Nissan joined Foundation of Light Trustees James Ramsbotham DL and Kate Adie OBE, along with Foundation CEO Lesley Spuhler OBE, at the event where they were given a behind the scenes tour of the state-of-the-art facility which is due to open this summer.
We’re very proud to back the Beacon of Light and specifically the World of Work zone.
It will be a fantastic asset to the North East, helping school leavers gain the skills to go into work and giving those out of work new skills and support, helping everyone play their part in keeping our region at the forefront of manufacturing in this country.
I’m delighted that we can continue to support the community through the Beacon of Light.
Ian Green, Senior Controller for the Global Training Centre and Nissan Skills Foundation at Nissan UK
One of the region’s largest employers, Nissan will supply engineering equipment similar to that used to train their operatives within the state-of-the-art facility, helping develop pupils’ workplace skills such as communication, team-working and project management.
James Ramsbotham DL, Chief Executive of the North East England Chamber of Commerce, added: “When Nissan first opened their operations in Sunderland it’s fair to say that it helped re-ignite this region’s economy. Over 30 years later it is heartening to see not only are they still going strong but still thoroughly committed to investing in our people and our communities.
“The Beacon of Light is an opportunity to reconnect our communities with our industries and commerce, creating a real path between secondary school and business by developing a motivated, educated and job-ready workforce.
“It will provide companies with an opportunity to engage with our community and make a huge difference.”
The Beacon of Light will house a broad range of Foundation of Light’s award-winning community programmes through four innovative zones: Education; Health and Wellbeing; Sport and Play; and the World of Work.
Structurally and financially independent of Sunderland AFC, the Foundation has raised over £16m towards the capital build with a fundraising plan in place to raise the remaining £2m before launch.
BBC correspondent and author Kate Adie, said: “We are calling on local businesses to come together as a group to raise funds to make a massive difference to the lives of people in their communities.
“Their budget may restrict them from giving financial support but they can still play a part in creating a legacy that we can all be proud of through gifts in kind – we still need equipment that can help change lives, especially in the World of Work zone – or their staff could offer their time or expertise to support the work being done to help those in need.”