Nissan Sunderland Plant Human Resources Director receives prestigious university honour

Nissan Sunderland’s Human Resources Director Michael Jude has collected an Honorary Doctorate in Business Administration from the University of Sunderland.

Michael, who graduated from the university in 2007 with a degree in Sport Science, became Nissan Sunderland’s youngest ever director in 2021 at the age of 34.

Michael said: “I’m honoured to receive this doctorate from the University of Sunderland, an institution which helped me develop the skills I needed for my career at Nissan.

“I had a brilliant time at the university and know first hand that our region is a fantastic place to come and study, live and work.  It was a huge privilege to be able to share the graduation ceremony with a such a group of talented people.”

An ex-Whitburn comprehensive student, Michael joined Nissan in 2010 as a graduate in the HR department and since then has held roles both at the factory and in Europe before taking on the role of director.

He received his doctorate in a ceremony at the Stadium of Light. He was part of a wider group of people who all received an honorary doctorate or fellowship having excelled in a particular field.

Nissan has a history of nurturing home-grown talent into key roles at the plant, with ten of the company’s current senior management team starting on the company’s graduate scheme.

Michael has always championed the promotion of skills development, including the continued growth of the Nissan Skills Foundation, the plant’s school engagement activity, and the recently launched Nissan Academy.

The Nissan Academy, which will be run in partnership with Sunderland City College, will see students study for a specialised engineering qualification alongside their GCSEs. Supported by the college and a team of experts from Nissan, pupils will be able to hone the technical skills needed for a career in advanced manufacturing and engineering. Upon successful completion of the programme, they will be guaranteed an apprenticeship assessment with Nissan.


Nissan’s next graduate and placement recruitment scheme will open in November this year, when about 70 graduates and placements will join the team. They will follow the 1,500 graduates and placements who have worked at the plant since production began in 1986.


These are exciting times at the plant. The team has just built the 11 millionth vehicle, and are pushing forward with the EV36Zero blueprint, which includes a new electric vehicle, a 12GWh gigafactory with the company’s battery partner Envision AESC, and a microgrid to deliver 100% renewable electricity to Nissan and suppliers.