Last Bank Holiday Monday I went to Towneley Park to the May Day event. I was pleased to see a lot of young people enjoying the fine weather and on-site fair. There was also a very impressive dog show which I thoroughly enjoyed.
The next day I travelled to Oxford to visit Airbus Helicopters. The company builds helicopters for the police, air ambulance and commercial and private market; it was great to hear how busy they are. The site employs over 170 people along with 11 apprentices. It really is an impressive hi-tech industry and I was happy to see there were many female apprentices employed; the UK economy needs more skilled engineers and this need will not be met unless greater efforts are made to recruit and retain women in skilled industry.
On the Wednesday I attended a meeting of the Baker-Dearing Trust, the organisation behind our University Technical College. Their story is a very positive one, there are lots of new UTCs opening across the country, with Burnley one of the most successful. I then attended the launch of the Engineering Futures Report, again showing the country needs to rebalance the economy, moving away from relying largely on the financial sector centred around London. Engineering and manufacturing need to be seriously considered due to it being a major contributor of capital.
On the Thursday I visited Nestle’s factory in Halifax with Ejaz Hussain, apprenticeship advisor for the BME Community. We watched the making of Quality Street, it was very impressive seeing our favourite chocolates being made, packaged and wrapped. I was surprised by how automated the process is, the factory is able to swap with ease from producing millions of Easter eggs to making Quality Street in no time at all. Their apprenticeship programme was very advanced and I was pleased to meet many committed young people; I wish them all the best for the future.
On my return I went to the town hall to discuss a planning matter and then visited a constituent who has been experiencing problems with Calico. I am now pleased to say we have had a very successful outcome and they have agreed to move the constituent to a much more suitable property. Later on Thursday I met a group of Hackney carriage drivers who have been experiencing issues with Burnley Council recently. I have now taken these problems up on their behalf.
The Friday saw a busy day of constituent appointments, meeting a wide range of people with many different issues. In the evening I was invited to the Mohiuddin International Girls’ College, located in the old Burnley College building. A lot of money has now been invested in the college and it is a very impressive place for girls’ education.
On the Sunday Chris Davies, one of our MEPs, visited Burnley to discuss European Parliament issues that affect Burnley. We try to meet on a regular basis to ensure I am kept up to date with what’s happening. It was a satisfying meeting.