Partnership puts skills into top gear

Calsonic Kansei North East is driving ahead with its skills agenda, after forming a new partnership with Sunderland College.


The North East plants are already working with the college to fill several apprenticeship roles and have signed up to a partnership after reviewing several other providers in the area.


Victoria Manghan, Human Resources Section Leader at Calsonic Kansai, said: “The college’s  strong spirit of partnership-working had convinced us that they were the right choice for us.”


“We are acutely aware of the need to attract and nurture the brightest, new talent into our company as well as the need to support our existing team through ongoing training and personal development.  It was essential for me that who we chose to move forward with understood that the relationship between us and them had to become a true partnership – I wanted to work closely with a provider who understood our business needs and the key challenges the Apprenticeship Levy poses and essentially, for them to become an extension of our team for skills development and delivery.”


She added: “When we went out to market, we were really impressed to learn about the way Sunderland College supports the businesses it works with. It has a strong pedigree in the automotive sector, and it really feels like they understand our aims and objectives as a business.  Ultimately they had a real commitment to delivering the best people and providing opportunities in the Sunderland area– and that’s ultimately what we are looking for.”


One of the parts of the college’s offer that impressed Calsonic Kansai most was the rigorous assessment centre it runs with candidates, meaning that employers get only the best talent put forward for consideration.


Victoria added: “We were hugely impressed by the testing that the college provides, to find the right match for the business. We will still carry out our own internal, assessments but this means that we are only seeing candidates who have already been assessed as having the capability to carry out the role”


“We are looking for the most talented, hardworking and ambitious apprentices, and we really feel that we will find those individuals at Sunderland College. It’s a new relationship but we’ve already been impressed by what we have seen, and we look forward to a long and successful partnership.”


The college – which last year opened its state-of-the-art City Campus, including an engineering and advanced manufacturing training centre – is growing a stronghold in the automotive sector, working with ZF-TRW, Unipres and Komatsu among others.


Ellen Thinnesen, principal and chief executive of Sunderland College, said: “We understand the automotive sector and the opportunities and challenges it faces when it comes to skills, and we are delighted that this insight is helping us to become established as a supplier of choice for apprenticeships, training and development.


“Calsonic Kansai is a fantastic business that really is wise to the paramount importance of investing in people, so it is a great pleasure to work with such a forward-thinking firm that – like us – holds so much stock in skills.


“Highly-prized employees power up businesses, and are the lifeblood of this region’s economy. By working so closely with progressive employers like Calsonic Kansai, we are able to ensure that the North East is home to the brightest talent, which will allow us to elevate the automotive sector in the region and demonstrate to the world that there is no better place for an automotive and manufacturing business to be.”


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