Global automotive supplier Marelli has received special recognition for its ‘Positive Impact on Skills’ from Sunderland College. 

The award was presented to Plant Manager Trevor Metcalfe by Sunderland College’s Chief Executive Ellen Thinnesen and Iain Nixon, Vice Principal for Partnerships and Commercial, at the manufacturer’s Sunderland base. 

A main supplier of components to Nissan and one of the region’s largest employers across its three Wearside plants, Marelli has adapted to challenging times and an ever-changing automotive industry post-Covid and offers hundreds of local people the opportunity to develop a career and skills in an exciting and innovative sector. 

Through a long-standing relationship with Sunderland College, Marelli has recruited and developed more than 30 apprentices and is proud of its workforce development through programmes delivered by the College and one of its partners, the Sora Group. 

Trevor said: “Working closely with Sunderland College has had numerous benefits. We have been able to develop a curriculum so young people and adults can understand and develop the skills we need, which makes them more job ready. 

“It’s all about understanding where our skills gaps are, which aren’t just on a technical level. One thing I’m proud of is that someone can come here and learn fundamental skills from being in the working environment and studying through Sunderland College. These are skills that will last them for the rest of their lives.” 

He added: “It’s a tough time in the automotive industry but also positive with the move to electrification – there is a bit of a buzz in the North East now for new skills. 

“So, not only do we need to keep skills in the region, that’s important, but we also must change those skills slightly. The principles are the same: we still need to invest in young people, or those who are looking for a change in career to automotive. 

“There is a change in the industry to electrification and the North East must be at the forefront of skills development. If we can offer these career paths, through training with the College and being in a job at the same time, it bodes well for the future.” 

Sunderland College is one of the largest providers of post-16 education in the region and is committed to partnering with employers to deliver a careers-focused curriculum and ensure students benefit from industry-focused learning opportunities. 

Multi-million-pound investment at the college’s City Campus in the heart of Sunderland has seen the creation of new technical learning facilities for automation and robotics, and manufacture of electric vehicle training, enabling the College to adapt to the needs of industry – and employers such as Marelli – now and in the future. 

Ellen Thinnesen said: “The team at Marelli really do go above and beyond and it is a pleasure to be able to provide them with this recognition for their impact on skills.  

“As a key partner of Sunderland College, Marelli focus on the bigger picture and understand the importance of co-designing and co-delivering vital skills strategies to support economic productivity now and into the future.  

“It is a real pleasure to work with likeminded colleagues ambitious for the North East and our communities”. 

Why Education Partnership North East (EPNE)?

Highly commended - Employer of the Year, Sunderland Echo Portfolio Awards 2019

Engagement with Employers - Association of Colleges (AoC) Beacon Award 2017

(Sunderland College On-programme Survey 2017)

Selected by DfE for 2021 T Level pilot to deliver the new high-quality technical qualifications.

98% overall employer satisfaction - Employer Survey 2018/19