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Wearside companies, Hyperdrive Innovation and Adient, have pledged £2,000 each to help introduce pupils at five primary schools in the North East to the attractiveness of a career in the automotive sector.

The funds are directly linked to the North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA) annual awards where, this year, Hyperdrive Innovation won SME company of the year and Adient, for the third consecutive year, won the manufacturing excellence award.

NEAA award winners received £14,500 in total to donate directly to schools or school engagement programmes, to help raise awareness of the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning and careers available within the automotive sector.

The donations from Hyperdrive Innovation and Adient will help fund the Primary Engineer structures and mechanisms with basic electrics programme at the five, yet to be chosen, primary schools.

The programme provides an educational approach to bringing engineering into primary classrooms and curriculum. It aims to inspire pupils and teachers through continued professional development, whole class project work, competitions and exhibitions.

Stephen Irish, commercial director, Hyperdrive Innovation, said: “Hyperdrive looks forward to working again with Primary Engineer and the next generation of budding engineers. The growth of electrification and battery storage goes hand-in-hand with the need for the further development and deployment of new technologies. If we are to remain a world leader in this area then it’s vital we continue to engage teachers and encourage young people to work towards a rewarding career in engineering and science.”

Hayley Cheel, HR manager, Adient, said: “We are really looking forward to working with Primary Engineer again this year. We have engaged with them since 2017 and had no hesitation donating our prize to them this year to help fund the fantastic STEM work they do with primary schools in our region.

“Adient engineers really enjoy being involved in the activities with the pupils and judging their innovative and very creative engineering ideas for the future. We also feel it’s very important to educate children in STEM at a young age and hope it excites them into choosing engineering as a career path which, in turn, helps build a bigger talent pool for future positions.”

Paul Butler, chief executive of the North East Automotive Alliance, said: “The NEAA awards evening in February was supported by some of the region’s most dynamic, forward-looking and successful automotive companies and, to date, £33,000 has been donated to supporting our future talent. It is really important we interact with our schools and communities across the North East, so they not only understand the importance of the automotive sector but look towards it as a provider of high quality jobs.”