Car giant Nissan is recruiting for 400 positions at its Sunderland plant.

The company is filling new jobs and vacant positions as it aims to capitalise on a series of positive announcements.

Nissan has suffered a difficult period since the EU referendum in 2016, losing two models from its production lines and having to cut around 1,000 jobs.

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But the last-minute Brexit deal has given the company confidence to invest in the Sunderland plant, and earlier this month it announced that 1,600 new jobs would be created between it and battery partner Envision AESC with the production of a new electric vehicle.

Nissan also launched a new press at the start of the year as it began production of the new model Qashqai.

Now it is recruitment for around 400 jobs, a mixture of new positions and filling of vacancies.

Alan Johnson, vice president of manufacturing at Nissan Sunderland, said: “Last month we announced the £1bn investment for Nissan EV360Zero in the plant, the biggest single investment since we opened 35 years ago.

“This is a real vote of confidence in Sunderland from our parent company in Japan and will really reaffirm Sunderland’s reputation as a world-class manufacturer.

“These new recruits will play an important role in preparing the plant for the arrival of the new all electric crossover model, as well as delivering Qashqai, Juke and Leaf to our customrs in 130 world markets.”

The jobs announcement is a boost after Nissan was forced to cut some production shift due to Covid absences and staff isolating. A global shortage of microchips needed for vehicles has also hit some production at Nissan, as it has at most other automotive manufacturers.

The announcement comes three weeks after Nissan, Envision and Sunderland City Council outlined a £1bn investment in the plant.

That plan - believed to have been backed with around £100m from the Government - will see Nissan building a new electric vehicle at Sunderland, Envision AESC expanding its battery gigafactory and the three organisations working to create a renewable energy ‘microgrid’ to power both companies’ operations.

As well as 900 jobs at Nissan and around 750 at the Envision battery plant, it’s hoped the project will lead to another 4,500 in the companies’ supply chains.

The North East has seen a drop in unemployment in recent months after a surge during the pandemic, although there are fears that the region is recovering slower than other parts of the country.