Awards evening highlights growing importance of automotive supply chain to the North East

The North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA) is celebrating its third annual industry awards evening at the Roker Hotel, Sunderland, where over 200 guests will celebrate the very best of the region’s supply chain.

Taking place on 21 February, the awards will applaud outstanding individual talent and the spectacular achievements of companies flying the flag for the North East automotive sector.

There is also a strong philanthropic element to the evening. In 2019 £14,000 was donated to support the budding automotive talent pool, including donations to STEM engagement programmes and local schools to assist STEM projects, the same gesture will take place in 2020.

St Robert of Newminster School in Washington was one of the beneficiaries of an award in 2019. School Engagement Award winner, Unipres UK, donated its £1,500 prize to the school in recognition of its strategy and enthusiasm towards engaging young people with STEM subjects.

John Green, assistant headteacher at St Robert of Newminster School, said: “The opportunity to work with local partners from the automotive industry has been truly inspirational for our pupils. They have developed many employability skills preparing them for the world of work. The money awarded to the school was used to purchase two 3D printers that are used by our pupils to create working prototypes for their coursework in engineering. The pupils use CAD software to design the chassis for drones, they carry out their own finite element analysis on their structures before 3D printing final models for testing. The quality of coursework has risen dramatically as a result of these new technologies and the enhanced opportunities they offer. Many thanks to the NEAA for this experience.”

In a further boost to the awards evening, guests will be joined by Mike Hawes, chief executive at The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) who will deliver the keynote address. SMMT is the trade association for the United Kingdom motor industry and represents 800 automotive companies.

The awards categories are: school engagement award, sponsored by Invest South Tyneside, Geoff Ford MBE apprentice awards, sponsored by Gateshead College, graduate awards, sponsored by NA College, innovation award, sponsored by Newcastle University, manufacturing excellence award, sponsored by Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK), SME company of the year, sponsored by Marelli and outstanding contribution award, sponsored by MAKE It Sunderland.

Paul Butler, CEO, The North East Automotive Alliance, said: “The awards present the perfect opportunity for the region’s supply chain success stories to be applauded. It is a key night for the sector to come together and really recognise the great talent we have here in the North East.

“Despite a year of political uncertainty, the sector remains buoyant and we certainly have a lot to shout about. In September, we welcomed over 600 delegates to the fifth North East Automotive Expo at The Beacon of Light, Sunderland, where we showcased our first Tech Zone and hosted a Polish automotive delegation. We also held our first annual conference in June which brought together keynote speakers from across the UK and was described as the biggest concentration of government agencies outside of a government organised event.

“As we move into 2020, we look forward to hosting a series of ‘Meet the Buyer’ events for our members. The first event will be in January to be followed very quickly afterwards by our awards evening, so the first quarter of 2020 is going to be action-packed.”

To secure a ticket to the NEAA’s awards ceremony, please visit: