Skills champion Charlie Charlton hosts premier automotive awards evening

Shortlisting for the North East Automotive Alliance’s (NEAA) annual awards 2024, to be hosted by celebrated national journalist and skills campaigner, Charlie Charlton, has been announced.

The awards, which have been refreshed to celebrate exceptional company performance and outstanding individual achievements, will be announced on March 28 at Ramside Hall Hotel, Durham.

Paul Butler, chief executive of the NEAA, said: “It is particularly appropriate that Charlie, who is passionate about skills and celebrating North East talent, should host this year’s awards, where we have an increasing focus on personal performance, innovation, sustainability and digital transformation.

“Charlie is also a very keen advocate of STEM engagement, which links nicely with our own commitment to promote these subjects to young people, via donations our award winners make each year to schools throughout the North East. Since the launch of the awards in 2018, over £60,000 has been made available to support local talent via STEM programs to raise awareness of automotive careers.

Additional beneficiaries of the NEAA Awards in 2023 included a number of local schools and STEM clubs, including Harton Academy who, since receiving the donation from winning SME of the Year, Ford Engineering, has invested in additional resources for their STEM club, which has meant it can offer a better learning experience for students. In addition, it has funded a trip to the Centre of Life in Newcastle and has enabled 12 students to work towards the CREST award, an accredited qualification in science.

Charlie Charlton, said: “The North East’s car industry has driven the UK into the headlines for decades, but behind the numbers are the incredible talents and innovation by our people. Now we’re full throttle in terms of an electric vehicle ecosystem that draws the whole region together. I’m so proud to be celebrating an industry for future generations.”

Paul added: “It was pleasing to see a record number of award entries submitted this year across all eight categories. A big thank you to all those that took the time to enter – the quality and competition was outstanding. Good luck to those shortlisted.”

The shortlisted categories are:

Geoff Ford MBE Apprentice Award, sponsored by Gateshead College

  • Megan Gorman – Unipres (UK) Limited
  • Holly Herron – ZF Automotive UK Ltd
  • Liam Wilson – Marelli

Graduate Award, sponsored by Marelli

  • Hasnat Ahmed – Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK
  • Megan Quinn – Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK
  • Nathan Tshibuyi – Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK

Innovation Award, sponsored by Newcastle University

  • Multinational:
    • Komatsu UK Ltd
    • Marelli
    • Vantec Europe Limited
  • SME:
    • Charpak Ltd
    • ClearVUE.Business Limited
    • Evolve Metals Ltd

Digital Transformation Award, sponsored by NA College

  • AutoScan UK Limited
  • Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK
  • Vantec Europe

Environmental & Sustainability Award, sponsored by Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK

  • Multinational:
    • Engineered Foam Products
    • Lear Sunderland
    • Unipres (UK) Limited
  • SME:
    • Houghton International
    • ITC Service
    • Smart Manufacturing Solutions Technology Ltd (SMS Tech)

Employer of the Year Award, sponsored by Invest South Tyneside

  • Faltec Europe Limited
  • Lear Sunderland
  • Marelli

SME of the Year Award, sponsored by North East Institute of Technology (NEIoT)

  • CMYK Digital Solutions Limited
  • Newcastle Premier Health Limited (NPH Group)
  • Smart Manufacturing Solutions

The Outstanding Contribution Award, sponsored by Sunderland City Council, will be announced on the evening.

Cllr Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “We are thrilled to be once again supporting the annual NEAA Awards. The awards are a fantastic opportunity to celebrate everything the region’s automotive businesses have achieved over the past 12 months and the huge economic impact they continue to have within the region, across our communities.

“It is also a great occasion to recognise the invaluable contributions of the talented apprentices, teams of time-served engineers and the often-unsung heroes who work tirelessly behind the scenes to drive this key sector forward and continue to secure our place as a leading automotive location.

“We’d like to wish all shortlisted businesses the best of luck and we look forward to joining the celebrations on what should be yet another great night for the industry.”

This year’s awards and sponsors are the Geoff Ford MBE Apprentice Award (Gateshead College), Graduate (Marelli), Innovation (Newcastle University), Digital Transformation (NA College), Environmental and Sustainability (Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK), Employer of the Year (Invest South Tyneside), SME of the Year (North East Institute of Technology), Outstanding Contribution (Sunderland City Council). Bottom of FormA drinks reception is sponsored by SMS Technology and the awards brochure sponsor is Horizon Works.

Companies looking to attend the awards evening can find more details at: