Calsonic Kansei, Lear and Unipres, together with the University of Sunderland’s Institute for Automotive and Manufacturing Advanced Practice (AMAP), welcomed Adrien Servant, Alrick Barbarin, Jérome Droumaguet, Romain Bussett, Colin Schellenbaum and Julien Guinhut to their respective teams. The French nationals, all post graduates from Saint-Nazaire Polytech, are in their final weeks of a three-month industrial placement, where they have been learning more about their profession.
The summer exchange, now in its eighth year, offers three months of high-quality work placements for engineering students, providing them with experience in the kind of industries they will be seeking to enter after graduation as well as the chance to live and work in the UK.
Lear Corporation and Unipres (UK) Limited have both taken part in the programme before, while 2016 marks the first year that Calsonic Kansei has signed up.
John Barnett Operations Director & EU Head of Manufacturing & SCM, said: “We are delighted to have signed up to this initiative and to open our doors to graduates from our twin-city Saint-Naizaire.
“Sunderland is a leading light on a national and international stage in automotive manufacturing, and we have a great deal to share with the world, so giving our friends from France the chance to see how we do things in the UK is great.”
Sunderland and Saint-Nazaire, a major port and shipbuilding centre on France’s Atlantic coast, have been twinned since 1953. Twinning activities – many of which involve young people from the two cities – are organised by Sunderland City Council’s international team.
Sunderland’s Mayor, Councillor Alan Emerson, said that the programme had proven to be a real success over the years.
He said: “We have a longstanding relationship with Saint-Nazaire, and it is one we are as keen now to nurture as we were in 1953.
“Our cities have changed significantly over the years, and since the arrival of Nissan, and its supply chain thirty years ago, we have seen the economy transformed, with advanced manufacturing one of the key sectors in the city. To be able to showcase the great work of some of the city’s finest businesses is tremendous.”
During their time in Sunderland, the six men have worked on a number of research and design projects, sharing their knowledge and expertise with the businesses they have spent their time with.
Another graduate from Saint-Nazaire has also been in Sunderland over the summer, working at The Roker Hotel to learn more about the hospitality industry in the UK.
Romain Bussett, 23, who has spent his time in Sunderland at Calsonic Kansei, said: “Sunderland is really nice and I feel like I have learnt a lot during my time here.
“I have discovered things I did not expect to by completing a project about reduction of energy consumption in the automotive sector, and have taken a great deal of extra knowledge on board. I now know that when I get back to France and enter industry, I would love to work as part of a team, and perhaps manage a team in the future.”