Nifco driving forward automotive futures

Erika Marshall     28th September 2016

A NORTH EAST manufacturer is taking teaching beyond the confines of the classroom, as part of an innovative new programme to create the future automotive workforce.

Nifco UK, plastic automotive components manufacturer, hosted its first Automotive Cadetship session at its state-of-the-art facility in Eaglescliffe last week [September 21] as part of the High Tide Foundation’s new programme. The Automotive Cadetship programme is a six-week, after-school scheme that runs throughout the year to introduce students to career opportunities within the region’s growing automotive sector.

Nifco hosted 12 students for a two-hour session that introduced the youngsters to the business – detailing the production process from materials required, the processing of those materials and the impacts of quality on the business and the industry. Through the session, students were introduced to the plastic moulding process, shown the high-tech robots on site, and given a tour of the facilities.

The Japanese manufacturer also demonstrated the importance of quality in manufacturing through a demonstration of traditional Japanese origami – showing the effects of passing bad quality onto the next stage in processes.

Erika Marshall, marketing and communications manager at Nifco UK, said: “It was fantastic to see all of the students enjoy themselves during their time with us – it was particularly special to be able to use the Japanese art of origami to break down and explain the effects of bad quality, promoting our heritage.

“Being a part of the High Tide Foundation’s Automotive Cadetship programme was a no-brainer for us. We are always looking for ways to get more young people excited about our industry, not only to showcase the incredible careers that are on offer, but to ensure we have the right skills base in the up and coming generations that will decide the future of our business.”

The Automotive Cadetship is a new initiative that has been designed and developed in partnership with five industry members including AV Dawson, SABIC, Nissan and Evans Halshaw alongside Nifco.

“We really hope the young people who pass through the cadetship open their eyes to the number of opportunities and the variety of jobs that are on offer through taking STEM subjects in schools, and go on to further their education through hands-on training like apprenticeships,” added Erika.

The business is a keen advocate of apprenticeships and developing staff skills, with more than 30 apprentices having trained and then stayed on as permanent employees of the business, which has invested heavily in staff development.

Paul Chapman, General Manager of Research & Development and Design, and delivered the Quality element of the session, has praised the Foundation’s new programme.

He said: “Young people are the future of every business, and the Automotive Cadetship is a great way for the sector to protect its future by inspiring the young to bring talent and fresh-thinking into the industry.

“With the sector facing skills shortages, it’s imperative that programmes like these give the right experience and insight to the young people who could make such a difference to our industry, and that industry leaders continue to lead by example by giving their backing and addressing the shortages ahead of time.”

For more information about the High Tide Foundation’s Automotive Cadetship programme, visit, or for more information about Nifco UK visit