Vauxhall reward business-conscious school pupils

Cheshire school pupils have been awarded with a signed England shirt by undergraduates from Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port plant.

Vauxhall, who sponsor the national team, awarded the shirt to pupils from Eaton Bank Academy after the school beat 15 others in the North West in Vauxhall’s Manufacturing Activity Day competition.

The Activity Day saw over 440 school pupils visit the plant to get a glimpse of everyday life inside the automotive industry, and to find out about the range of apprenticeships and careers that Vauxhall offer.

Val Thomas, Plant Personnel Manager said: “To see the plant full of young pupils keen to begin their future careers was great. We always welcome the opportunity to invite young people into the plant and to showcase all the career paths that manufacturing can offer.”

Pupils were also given a factory tour of the General Assembly unit and had the opportunity to take part in a number of manufacturing games, activities and challenges.

The main game of the session allowed students to make Astra cars or Vivaro vans out of paper nets.

Designed to teach the principles of lean manufacturing and the importance of building a quality product that will make a profit, the Eaton Bank pupils achieved the highest profit per person with £5,500.

Sandra Bailey, Eaton Bank work related learning officer said: “Eaton Bank Academy was delighted to host the Vauxhall Day, the Vauxhall staff and undergraduates engaged extremely well with our students who in turn thoroughly enjoyed the organised activities.

“The students gained a valuable insight into this very forward thinking company. Winning the signed England shirt was the icing on the cake.”

The Ellesmere Port plant recently celebrated its 50th year, which produced its first car on the 1st June 1964.

Home to the Astra and the Vivaro, Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port factory was built in 1962 on the former site of RAF Hooton and was designated to be called Vauxhall Hooton Park before it was changed shortly before production began to avoid confusion with Vauxhall Luton.

The factory came to west Cheshire as a result of a Government strategy to develop production plants with the ‘Big Five’ motor manufacturers in new industrial development areas across the country.

During its half-century of production, the Ellesmere Port site has come close to disaster on multiple occasions and was recently threatened with closure, but the determination of the strong workforce working closely with the management team and UNITE The Union, has kept the plant alive and thriving.

Recently, the plant has been allocated to be the main site of production, alongside only one other factory, to manufacture the next-generation Astra, which will go into production in the autumn of next year.