January 21, 2015
Prince Charles Visits Sunderland Plant
January 20 – Sunderland, UK – His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales toured Nissan’s Sunderland plant on Tuesday, a visit highlighting the factory’s leading role in EV manufacturing as well as in youth training.
The UK plant, built in the mid-1980s, reflects a corporate commitment to sustainability, through electric vehicle production, and to the professional development of young talent.
Prince Charles, widely known for his active support of sustainability – including reductions in carbon emissions and organic farming – toured the all-electric Nissan LEAF production line.
And accompanied by local dignitaries and Nissan executives, he met manufacturing staff and apprentices at the specialist EV training area.
“The Prince’s commitment is very clear through Prince’s Trust, a big investment of his time and, obviously, a big commitment in terms of developing youth and talent. And that is very much aligned with Nissan,” said Nissan Europe Chairman Paul Willcox.
“Here in Gateshead we have a first-class training facility to develop the talent of the future. We’ve had over 1,400 apprentices go through this facility in Sunderland and that shows our commitment.”
Sunderland, which manufactures one in three British cars, saw European LEAF sales rise 33 percent in 2014 on year – testament to the growing EV market and the model’s popularity.
At the Nissan Skills Foundation, students from local institutions met with Prince Charles for learning in monozukuri, “the art of making things”.
Holly Sugden, 10, of Gillas Lane Primary described how she felt meeting a member of the royal family.
“It’s really cool just to be in the same room with him, since he’s royalty and he’s our next king,” said Sugden. “It’s amazing.”
The Prince of Wales is committed to numerous youth initiatives, including the Industrial Cadets program and the Step Up To Serve campaign, which engages young people to further their involvement in the community.
Before leaving the plant, Prince Charles unveiled a plaque commemorating his visit, as well as the work of the Nissan Skills Foundation.