Erewash MP Maggie Throup praised young workers as she made a fact-finding visit to an Ilkeston firm to mark National Apprenticeship Week.
Throup met three apprentices on Friday 10th March when she visited Dales Fabrications, which designs and makes aluminium products, including fascias, soffits and rainwater systems that enhance the appearance of a variety of buildings.
She approached the firm which hit the headlines last December because it produced curved aluminium solar shading units for digital advertising screens above Piccadilly Underpass in London between Hyde Park Corner and Knightsbridge, seen by thousands of motorists each day in an area popular with wealthy international tourists.
She said: “It’s amazing the range of products that are made in Ilkeston.
“Dales is another example of how local goods are making a difference to the country”.
Throup met apprentices David Pritchard, from Chaddesden, Derby, who is a production processor but also on a undergraduate programme leading to a foundation degree with Derby College and Sheffield Hallam University; Rosie Dales, from Nottingham, a welder; and Tia Bexon, of Ilkeston, who is a business administrator.
Pritchard had the option to go to university but wanted to learn and earn. He said: “I’m getting a salary and will be an experienced qualified graduate in another two years”.
He gives instructions for what needs to be done, Dales welds the material, and Bexon invoices customers for the work.
Throup added: “It’s good to meet the apprentices here and to hear how much they are enjoying the work and how they see their careers progressing.
“I would encourage more young people to look at the apprenticeship route as an alternative to university”.
And Karl Prosser, managing director of Dales, who himself served an apprenticeship with the RAF, also heaped praise on the apprentices that he had hired.
He said: “They are all core members of the business, not just trainees, and they fulfil a very real function,” he said. “They have contributed significantly to our recent successes”.
The company boosted sales last year by £1m to break the £4m barrier, beating its previous best figure by almost £1m.