The Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Lynda Scanlan, has welcomed three students to the city as they bring a French connection to Sunderland over the summer.

Maxime Damy (22), Gregory Liset (23) and Simon Troadec (23), from Sunderland’s twin-town of Saint-Nazaire, are undertaking three month work placements with the University of Sunderland’s Institute for Automotive and Manufacturing Advanced Practice (AMAP).

Based at The Industry Centre on Sunderland Enterprise Park, AMAP is part of the Faculty of Applied Sciences within the University of Sunderland and supports businesses within the Automotive sector sharing best practice, providing training and upskilling of the workforce, and undertaking joint research projects.

The three students, who study at Polytech’Nantes – one of France’s leading technical universities – are visiting the city as part of the long-standing partnership between Sunderland and Saint-Nazaire.

The Mayor of Sunderland, Cllr Scanlan said: “As part of our close partnership with Saint-Nazaire we have been hosting French post-graduate students on placement for a decade now.

It’s a great opportunity to share experiences, skills and knowledge across so many sectors of industry, education and training and everyone involved benefits enormously.

I hope this year’s placement students have enjoyed their time in our city, and I’m sure we all wish them well in their future careers.”

The projects the students have been working on are varied but all relate to their chosen course of study – Simon has been working on a range of Industry 4.0 projects linking sensors to equipment and gathering data, Maxime has been learning to program and use an industrial robot to perform specified industrial tasks, and Gregory has been using Vive Augmented Reality System and applying this to maintenance training projects.

To supplement his experience at AMAP, Gregory was also able to meet with representatives from local gaming company Coatsink, who were able to offer some practical tips on using augmented reality (AR). Coatsink is a talented, successful, game development company based at Sunderland Software Centre, whose main business activity is video game development. The company have released games for personal computers (PC), virtual reality (VR) platforms, console, mobile, PlayStation, Occulus and Nintendo platforms.

Cllr Graeme Miller, Leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “I’m delighted to welcome the students to Sunderland as part of our long-standing twinning relationship with Saint-Nazaire, and to see this partnership continue to generate real benefits for both communities.”

This is the tenth year that Sunderland has welcomed students from Polytech’Nantes, with various companies hosting students over the years – ABB, Calonsic Kansei Europe Ltd, Lear Corporation, Rayovac, Unipres, and Valeo, along with AMAP, have all been supportive of this placement programme over the years.

To celebrate the tenth anniversary of this educational partnership, all companies who have been involved with hosting students during this period, were invited to join the Mayor at AMAP, to welcome the students to the city and to hear more about the various projects that they have been working on.

Professor Alastair Irons, Dean of the Faculty of Technology at AMAP said “I am delighted to be involved once again with this placement project, which not only provides valuable experience for the students involved, but also enhances the knowledge and expertise available to support companies based in the city.”

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