Bus service changes to benefit local skills bootcamp

Leaders from across the North East have worked together to add additional night time and early morning journeys to a key local bus service to better align with shift patterns at Nissan – helping local people take part in a skills bootcamp in Electric Vehicle Manufacturing.

South Tyneside Council recently secured circa £2.5m Department for Education investment to deliver Skills Bootcamps in Electric Vehicle Manufacturing to around 1,200 residents from across the area.

The Skills Bootcamp has been developed in partnership between Nissan, NA College Trust and South Tyneside Council and will directly support Nissan’s existing and future workforce development needs following the announcement of £2 billion of new investment to produce two new electric vehicle models at the Sunderland plant.

This investment is expected to support thousands of jobs and further cements the UK’s position as a global leader in Electric Vehicle manufacturing. To unlock these opportunities for residents of South Tyneside without access to private transport, Nexus has collaborated with bus operator Go North East to provide two new journeys a day on service 50 which operates between Durham and South Shields via Washington. These new journeys, which leave Nissan towards South Shields at 01:10 in the morning and arrive at Nissan from South Shields at 06:20, have been funded the North East’s Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP). These journeys are in addition to the existing seven buses an hour on services 50 and 56 provided by Go North East.

Cllr Tracey Dixon and Cllr Martin Gannon are portfolio holders for skills and transport, respectively, in the new North East Combined Authority and worked closely together to add additional early morning services so the shift workers could travel by public transport.

Cllr Martin Gannon, Leader of Gateshead Council and Chair of the North East Joint Transport Committee, said: “We know how important it is that local bus services are reliable and meet the needs of local people to access employment and training.

“I’m pleased that we have been able to work together as a region to make some changes to the last and first number 50 Go North East service. The changes have increased the number of journeys, and mean that the timetable now allows shift workers taking part in the Skills Bootcamp to travel sustainably to access this wonderful opportunity for training. This is another example of the small changes we can make to bus services to make them work better for local people and I’m pleased to have worked closely with Cllr Tracey Dixon and Nexus to make this improvement for passengers.”

Cllr Tracey Dixon, Leader of South Tyneside Council, said: “It’s vital that we have a workforce equipped with the skills to take advantage of jobs being created in the automotive, advanced manufacturing and low carbon industries.

“South Tyneside council recently secured £2.5m Department for Education investment to deliver Skills Bootcamps in Electric Vehicle Manufacturing to 1,200 residents from across the area, which will directly support Nissan’s existing and future workforce development needs.

“It’s so important that there are no barriers to our residents being able to access training and employment opportunities so I’m delighted that the Joint Transport Committee and Nexus have responded to my request for additional bus services aligning with early and late shifts at Nissan.”

Ben Maxfield, Business Director at Go North East, said: “We are thrilled to have been able to work with Nexus and South Tyneside Council to provide these extra journeys on service 50 that will allow local residents to access the Skills Bootcamp in Electric Vehicle Manufacturing at Nissan. These services complement the existing trips on service 50, as well as our popular 56 service which already provides public transport access to Nissan from Newcastle and Sunderland most hours of the day and night, 7 days a week.”

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