A CAR parts manufacturer is investing in a new academy which will include a wellbeing space for staff and focus on upskilling workers as well their future apprentices.

Gestamp has invested in the Tallent Academy, a 4,300 sq ft facility which sits adjacent to its factory in Newton Aycliffe.

The firm – which makes chassis and body components for most main vehicle manufacturers – will include in the academy research and development capabilities, robot cells, specialist welding bays, tooling facilities, a medical area, physiotherapy suites, counselling rooms and an ‘R&R’ wellbeing zone.

Gestamp says it will open up the new development to support groups, while other businesses will also be able to use the facility to train up their staff.

Jonathan Phillips, plant director at the firm said: “We aim to provide a world class training and research facility to support Gestamp UK’s operational and strategic objectives.

“By investing in the wellbeing of our people, facilities and future technologies we aim to provide a lean, agile and flexible facility to provide a safe, sustainable location to allow employees to grow and impact our overall plant efficiency in all key performance indicators.

“Our people are the architects of our success, so reinforcing this facility like this is a hugely positive step forward for the business.”

The idea behind Gestamp’s Tallent Academy was created six years ago, and has already been used for training purposes alone.

During that time, more than 470 apprentices have completed their training there in a variety of areas including technical, manufacturing, processing, welding and fabrication, press shop and quality.

Gestamp has created a training planner for the business to focus on specific areas, including HSE, cranes, logistics, quality, welding, technologies, leadership, administration and further education.

The further development of the academy will also help Gestamp Aycliffe to promote the personal and professional development of employees.