Academy Investment by Car Parts Maker

Car parts manufacturer Gestamp is investing in a new academy with a 4,300 sq ft facility which sits adjacent to its huge factory in Newton Aycliffe.

The academy includes a wellbeing space for staff and focus on upskilling current workforce as well their future apprentices.

Gestamp – which makes chassis and body components for most main vehicle manufacturers – will include in the academy research and development capabilities, robot cells, specialist welding bays, tooling facilities, a medical area, physiotherapy suites, counselling rooms and a wellbeing zone.

The new development will be opened up to local support groups, while other businesses will also be able to use the facility to train up their staff.

Jonathan Phillips, plant director at Gestamp in Aycliffe, said: "By investing in the wellbeing of our people, facilities and future technologies we aim to provide a lean, agile and flexible facility to provide a safe, sustainable location to allow employees to grow and impact our overall plant efficiency in all key performance indicators."

The idea behind Gestamp's Tallent Academy was created six years ago, and has already been used for training purposes alone. During that time, more than 470 apprentices have completed their training there in a variety of areas including technical, manufacturing, processing, welding and fabrication, press shop and quality.

Paul James, head of Gestamp’s Tallent Academy, said: "We want to strengthen our position as the apprenticeship of choice for industry in our region and to become an even more attractive proposition for local businesses, as well as training providers, and for this reason it is essentially a development prospectus to create a full offering for our employees as well as the wider business community."

Gestamp already works with Teesside University, Hartlepool College and South Durham UTC in the training of future employees, and aims to strengthen those ties as well as create new links with training and FE organisations. As well as supplying parts to Nissan, Gestamp also helps to train some of the firm’s apprentices.