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Nissan launches UK Clay Modeling Apprentice Program

Thu, 02 May 2013 00:00:00 -0700

Nissan has launched a Clay Modeling Apprentice Program in the UK, designed to recruit skilled clay modelers to boost the UK's position in global vehicle design.

Business Secretary Vince Cable and Nissan executive vice president Andy Palmer were present at the launch – held at Nissan's London-based European Design Center – of a scheme that aims to address the national shortage of clay modelers.

Palmer explains, "Clay modeling is an integral part of the design process and vital in helping the design team visualize ideas. It's one thing seeing a design on paper or on a computer screen but the ability to view a model in clay gives designers a real feel for scale and proportion and allows them to fine-tune their visions and realize the stunning cars we see in the metal.

"This exciting new apprenticeship will lead the way in changing this situation, bringing the skill of clay modeling in-house, developing future generations of talent and further cementing the UK's position at the centre of global car design."

More than 900 aspiring modelers applied for the first three apprenticeships. In a challenging recruitment process the best 40 were invited to the West Thames College and given a practical challenge to test their skills – to create a perfect cube made out of clay. The best 12 candidates were selected to attend a two-week "Boot Camp" for some intensive training, where their academic skills and other factors were assessed.

Once "Boot Camp" ended the 12 finalists were taken into separate interviews before the final three were chosen, with Joanna Bond, Robert Bennett and Sanny Kumar emerging successful. They are now training in the engineering workshops at West Thames College.

"Clay modeling is a very specialist role and not a job you can just walk into. This Apprenticeship is giving me the opportunity to get my qualifications and go straight into work. It's giving me all the skills I need to fulfill the role, plus lots more," says Apprentice Joanna Bond.

The Clay Modeling Apprentice Program is a collaboration between Nissan, West Thames College, the National Apprenticeship Service, Sector Skills Council for Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies (SEMTA), the Skills Funding Agency, Creative Skills and Edexcel.

To apply for the scheme, please continue to check West Thames College's Apprenticeship website.

By Rufus Thompson