A CAR parts supplier has moved to bolster its workforce after securing a deal to deliver components for a refreshed electric vehicle.

Faltec Europe is sending body and trim parts to Nissan’s Sunderland plant for use on the manufacturer’s upgraded Leaf hatchback.

Bosses say the deal has allowed Faltec to recruit 15 paint and polish apprentices, who will work on the contract.

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Production of Nissan’s new Leaf, which the company says will be able to travel further on a single charge, is expected to start before the end of the year.

Faltec, based in Boldon, near Sunderland, already supplies Nissan with parts for its flagship Wearside-made Qashqai, as well as its Juke and Infiniti models, and is working with Sunderland College and Sora Group to train its apprentices.

Glen Sidebotham, senior sales manager, said: “These apprentices will be important to our success in the launch of production for the new Leaf.

“Both parties were able to create a training plan that demonstrated a clear understanding of the needs of our business.

"The level of training and apprentices supplied to us have been of a high calibre, and we are very pleased to have welcomed our new recruits.”

The apprentices underwent a screening programme before beginning a paint application course, which was delivered at Sunderland College, and have been trained on a production line with Faltec’s products to hone their skills.

Iain Nixon, the college’s executive director for commercial activity, added: “The apprentices have learnt in a practical setting that mimics Faltec’s working environment, and every stage of the training has been modelled on the procedures and high standards set by the company.”

Nissan confirmed in September that it’s Sunderland plant would make the refreshed Leaf.

The Wearside factory will join sites in the US and Japan in overseeing the hatchback’s production, with bosses saying the new version will include a one-pedal driving system allowing motorists to drive and brake seamlessly.

The Leaf, which was the nine millionth vehicle to be made on Nissan’s North-East production lines since its factory’s 1986 opening, was launched in 2011 before being revised in 2013, when production started in the region for the European market.