The new school year has reignited a unique relationship between a leading North East company and a popular school.
Pump manufacturer Grundfos struck up the link with Portland Academy, which caters for secondary-aged pupils with special needs, six years ago.
Now Grundfos, based in Sunderland, hosts weekly work experience placements for Portland students, with both company and school finding the regular visits richly rewarding.
Rachel Chaffe, leader of parents, community and business links at the academy, said: “All of the students that we have had pass through the Grundfos doors have had valuable experiences within a real work setting.
“Not only have they carried out duties that they wouldn’t ordinarily get the opportunity to experience in school, they have grown in self esteem and confidence.”
Lee Carlin, general manager at Grundfos, which this year celebrates its 40th anniversary in Sunderland, added: “We really value the relationship we have with Portland and the opportunity to help and develop the academy’s students.
“Grundfos colleagues really enjoy working with the students and the school, to the extent that our production director June Torgersen is a governor at the academy.
“We think of ourselves as a north east company and this is a meaningful, practical way of putting something back into the community.”