Nissan is working with Newcastle High School for Girls to encourage more women into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects and careers by offering four Sixth Form students a real insight into the world of work.

The Year 12 Physics students from Newcastle High will work alongside Nissan on a six-month project to tackle live issues within its Sunderland manufacturing plant, which is the home of models such as the award-winning Qashqai, the all-electric Leaf and the new Infiniti Q30 premium compact, the latest vehicle launched at the plant.

Last month, four 17 year-old girls spent the day at the plant on a fact-finding visit to learn more about Nissan’s manufacturing and engineering processes and to explore their project in more detail.

The Nissan/Newcastle High project is part of the Engineering Education Scheme, which sees schools teaming up with local companies to provide opportunities for students to work on real, scientific, engineering and technological problems. The Engineering Development Trust, a national education charity, runs the scheme and encourages partnership between schools and industry to provide opportunities for young people in STEM subjects.

The students gain in-depth experience in science, engineering and technology, enabling them to make informed decisions about their future subject and career choices.

During this six-month project, the Newcastle High team will gain hands-on work experience at Nissan, working as part of a team, problem solving and project managing. The industrial placement work will be combined with time spent at Newcastle University, attending professional skills lectures in communication and project management, and the girls will also use university resources to develop, build and test solutions to the problem and tasks they have been set.

The four girls will also get the chance to compete for a British Association (BA) CREST Award at the end of the project.

Commenting on the scheme, Andy Morton, Physics Teacher at Newcastle High said:

“We are delighted to be able to offer our students the chance to take part in such a rigorous educational enrichment project and are thankful to Nissan for delivering this fantastic initiative.

“The girls will get a rare insight into the industrial environment of the UK’s largest car plant and gain invaluable work experience that will help them make informed decisions about future subject and career choices.

“On a practical level, they will also develop technical skills and see the Physics, Chemistry and Maths learned in the classroom applied in an industrial environment.

“It is projects like the EES and our overall approach to promoting science-based subjects that both excite the girls about these areas and also open their eyes to the excellent career opportunities in engineering.

“Last year over 50% of our Year 13 leavers went on to read STEM subjects at university and girls from NHSG regularly win places to read a variety of engineering based courses at university.  We’re not only breaking down gender barriers and bias, but we’re helping to meet the demand for high-level skills in these subjects. In Physics in particular, girls in independent single sex schools like ours are four times more likely to take Physics to A-level than their state school, co-educated counterparts.”
Adrian Smart, HR Director at Nissan Sunderland Plant, also commented:

“Projects like these help widen horizons and give students an insight into the breadth of career opportunities available to them in STEM.

“Nissan is committed to offering this type of opportunity to local school children through its Nissan Skills Foundation programmes, which this year will reach 8,000 pupils from schools across Sunderland, Newcastle, Durham and Teesside, inspiring children and young people into STEM careers.”

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