A new organisation set up to help the North East grow its automotive supply chain has set up headquarters in Sunderland and is already creating jobs.
The North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA) is now interviewing for key roles such as project manager, marketing manager and office assistant to work with chief executive Paul Butler to drive the new body forward.
Supported by Sunderland City Council, the organisation aims to provide a strong, unified voice for the region’s automotive sector, growing interest from UK and global markets in becoming part of the North East’s thriving automotive hub.
Funding from the European Regional Development Fund allows eligible businesses to promote their capabilities within the NEAA network, taking part in business excellence initiatives free of charge.
Those looking to enter the automotive supply chain, meanwhile, can benefit from training to help them overcome barriers to entering the market.
Mr Butler said: “It’s great to be recruiting the team who will provide the year round focus on our growing automotive sector. Sunderland City Council’s advice and support has enabled us to establish our presence in the region as quickly as possible.”
The NEAA - which brings together representatives from businesses like Nissan, Nifco, Komatsu, Sevcon and Hyperdrive - will be working with member companies to tackle strategic issues they could not address alone.
It plans to improve skills and training, showcase regional capability, attract funding and involvement from Government bodies, and align regional and national strategic objectives.
An official launch event will be held on March 27.
Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson, said: “Sunderland is already recognised as the location of one of the world’s best car manufacturing plants, and with the creation of NEAA we have the dedicated resources which will help to position the city and region as an important hub for the automotive manufacturing and supply sector.
“The trusted relationships we have built with international automotive companies will be boosted with the strong, unified approach of NEAA working with businesses. If we can attract more supply companies to the region it will help the UK economy and strengthen the region’s ability to compete globally.”
The NEAA is also working closely with UK Trade and Investment’s (UKTI) Automotive Investment Organisation (AIO), the deputy chief executive of which, Lawrence Davies, said: “The North East really is so, so strong when it comes to automotive, and we are keen to help the area to capitalise on the presence of major OEMs.
“The NEAA has a vital role to play in bringing the key players in the sector together, and sharing their experience to help more and more businesses come through and spur on the development of automotive manufacturing.”