Nissan Sunderland Builds New Qashqai – Local Kids Given Skills Chance


Sometimes we get asked why we don’t publish more good news, more positive stuff, more heart-warming stories.  Well, here we go.

Up in Sunny Sunderland they’re celebrating the fact that the new Qashqai is starting production at the Nissan plant. And it comes with a renewed pledge to involve local bairns (as we believe the Mackems call their kids) in the company.

Now, here at NTK Motors, we can sniff out a cynical PR move at 100 yards and we’re telling you this is a bona fide lovely gesture that might – just might – reveal the engineers of the future.

Every North Eastern child (er…does this include Geordies? Has anyone told the Mackems?) will be offered a place at the upcoming Nissan Skills Foundation event. We’ve seen this type of thing before and the bairns love it and the companies involved get to get close to the locals and sniff out potential talent.  Win/win.

As Alan Johnson, Nissan Vice President for Manufacturing in the UK, said: “We know it has been a tough year for young people, so we’re using the launch of this next-generation car to step up our efforts to inspire the next-generation of manufacturing talent. We want every child in the North East of England to have the opportunity to be inspired by the Nissan Skills Foundation.”

Whichever way you look at it, Nissan in Sunderland has been a big hit.  The new Qashqai comes after a £400m investment in the plant, following a full 35 years of making Nissan up in the UK.  Nowadays, they reckon that the Qashqai represent one in five cars built in Britain since it launched 14 years ago.  An impressive stat…but that may be as much a comment on the parlous state of UK manufacturing.  But let’s not go there.

Instead, so to Sunderland and celebrate this development.  An investment in British manufacturing. An investment in real jobs for real people.  And an investment in the bairns.