IT has been said that you’d be hard-pressed to find a person in the North-East who does not know at least one employee of Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK.

Now, just shortly after the first phase of the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) - a scheme that will – when complete - create 7,000 jobs and transform the UK’s manufacturing output - was given the green light, Louise Bradford finds out what this development really means for the North-East.

“IT’S difficult to over emphasise what IAMP will deliver for South Tyneside and Sunderland, and the wider North East region,” says Councillor Iain Malcolm, leader of South Tyneside Council.

“We are talking about a vast number of new roles being created in successive waves. One major investment, two major investments, three major investments... The momentum that will come with IAMP and the economic impact of it, will be nothing short of transformational.”

Cllr Malcolm, along with colleagues at South Tyneside Council, is one half of the local authority partnership driving plans for IAMP. Together with Sunderland City Council, who last week approved planning for phase one of the development, the team has figuratively laid the foundations for what will be a game-changing manufacturing park.

The IAMP is a 150-hectare area of land, north of Nissan. Approval of phase one will see 50 hectares of that estate become the first of a two-phased plan to create one of the most significant advanced manufacturing parks in the UK.

The scheme has already received the backing of the UK Government, which has provided £42m via the North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s Local Growth Fund towards infrastructure including new roads, bridges and environmental enhancements to support the development.

Councillor Graeme Miller, the newly elected leader of Sunderland City Council, believes IAMP will establish the area as an industrial powerhouse. “IAMP will take the already successful automotive and manufacturing sectors we have in the North East to new heights,” says Cllr Miller.

“Our Nissan plant is famed for its productivity and that is down to the hardworking people we have here. The same work ethic that powers Nissan will power the businesses that choose to locate on the IAMP and that will enhance the North East’s reputation as a force to be reckoned with when it comes to engineering and advanced manufacturing.

“It’s unsurprising that - with such a strong track record in engineering – businesses are already keen to explore opening their base on IAMP, a place that will enjoy the benefits of the rich talent pool we have in the North East, along with the excellent connectivity and accessibility that comes with being based just minutes from the region’s major trunk roads, which will be further enhanced by the time the first building opens its doors on site.”

IAMP is expected to attract more than £400m in private sector investment, creating over 7,000 jobs in the process and delivering new opportunities for people in the area to secure employment.

“We know that this is a development that has the will of not only Sunderland and South Tyneside councils behind it, but one that Nissan are absolutely 100per cent supportive of, which will make it even more attractive to businesses on a national and international scale,” adds Cllr Miller.

In a letter filed as part of the planning application for phase one, submitted by IAMP development partner Henry Boot Developments Limited, the scheme is described as being ‘key to [Nissan’s] long-term operations’.

The letter confirms that Nissan has been working with Henry Boot, alongside IAMP LLP, to ensure that the first phase of suppliers on site can meet its needs when it begins production of the new Qashqai and X-Trail models.

Property development specialist Henry Boot Developments was appointed to take plans for IAMP forward last year, and will deliver infrastructure works, such as highways and utilities, and floorspace for accommodation on the site, which is the equivalent of more than 100 football pitches.

Vivienne Clements, director at the firm, says: “We are delighted to be playing a key role in the development of IAMP. We believe that IAMP will become known as a world class hub for businesses in the automotive and advanced manufacturing sectors, and as one of the largest infrastructure projects the North East has seen in decades, it truly will change the landscape here for future generations.”

And, as a project that will deliver huge economic benefits regionally, the North East LEP is also firmly behind the programme.

“This is a huge boost for the region and we’re delighted that – with approval granted – work can very quickly begin on bringing these plans to life,” explains Helen Golightly, executive director at the LEP.

“The fact that the Government last year agreed to grant IAMP Enterprise Zone status proves just how significant a project this is. We are now looking forward to working with the delivery team and to welcoming new businesses to the site in the not too distant future.”

Local education providers that are gearing up to support with the skills needs of IAMP-based businesses have also welcomed the news that phase one is approved for development. South Tyneside and Sunderland Councils have already signed a joint-agreement with South Tyneside College, Sunderland College, and the University of Sunderland to ensure that IAMP has the skilled people needed to succeed once it is fully operational.

Speaking about the opportunities the scheme will bring, Lindsey Whiterod, Principal and Chief Executive of South Tyneside College, said: “IAMP will be one of the largest developments that South Tyneside has seen in a generation and the impact it will have on the lives of young people is huge. As a borough, we’ve always had a proud manufacturing heritage, and IAMP will marry together the work ethic that helped the North East establish itself as a manufacturing powerhouse, with advanced production techniques that will put us at the cutting-edge of industry. And we’re working with partners to ensure that we have the skills we will need as the manufacturing park takes shape.”

Sunderland College has – perhaps – made the most visible investment in manufacturing and engineering training provision, in the shape of its £29m, 141,712 sq ft City Campus, which opened its doors in September 2016. The state-of-the-art campus provides courses in advanced manufacturing, the automotive trades and engineering and has already helped hundreds of young people develop the skills needed to break into the sector.

Principal and chief executive of the college, Ellen Thinnesen, is delighted to be supporting IAMP and believes working collaboratively with industry is crucial to stimulating economic growth and nurturing the skills of the future workforce.

“Our engineering and manufacturing courses have always had a high uptake and we know that young people leave us work-ready and with the attitude required to succeed in industry.

“As one of the North East’s most pivotal sectors, and with IAMP promising to boost this further, we have invested significantly in our City Campus to create a truly state-of-the-art learning environment that will deliver talented people who have the right competencies to drive the growth of the businesses that choose to locate in the North East. We now have the best possible environment in which to train and continually develop the engineers of tomorrow.

“It is crucial that business and education work hand-in-hand and we’re committed to developing a long-term partnership with the team behind IAMP to ensure this region can meet the needs of industry and in the process, create opportunities for hundreds of young people across the region."

The University of Sunderland recognises and acknowledges that cutting edge research and innovation is important to existing advanced manufacturing companies in the region and fundamental to attracting new investors. Having already secured over £5m of funding to support manufacturing innovation projects, the next phase of the Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing (CESAM) project, developed with Nissan, North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA) will be a hub for innovation. Located on the IAMP this facility will represent the region’s largest investment in innovation in advanced manufacturing practices.

Shirley Atkinson, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive at the University of Sunderland, said: ‘We need to provide not only the skills we can see are needed now by our industrial partners, but also work alongside sector experts to find new, sustainable ways to improve productivity and competitiveness. Collaborative applied research with our industry partners will ensure we remain focused on the ‘factory of the future’ and maximise the competitive advantage for businesses locating on IAMP.

To find out more about IAMP, visit