Reece Group was pleased to welcome Prime Minister Theresa May to the Armstrong Works when the cabinet met in the North East as part of the Great Exhibition of the North.
The Prime Minister found out more about the diverse work of the group’s engineering companies and met with apprentices before taking questions from employees on issues including Brexit and investment in skills.
Mrs May said that discussions at today’s Cabinet meeting focussed on implementing the Government’s Modern Industrial Strategy, making sure the Government delivers a Brexit deal that works for every corner of the UK, and discussing the pivotal role of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in boosting growth and prosperity across the Northern Powerhouse.
Prime Minister Theresa May said: “I was pleased to meet with highly skilled staff at Reece Group, where I saw first-hand the innovation taking place in defence, transport and energy technology, and met with apprentices developing the vital skills we need for the future.
“I know how important it is that we have the right infrastructure in place for businesses like Reece Group in the North East to thrive, which is why we’re delivering significant new investment into innovation and transport across the North of England.”
During her visit to defence manufacturer, Pearson Engineering, managing director Craig Priday explained more about the firm’s latest military combat engineer tools as well it’s MineWolf vehicles, which are used to clear landmines in conflict zones around the world.
The Prime Minister also heard about the history and unique capabilities of the Armstrong Works, the only remaining purpose-built armoured vehicle manufacturing facility in the UK.
Craig Priday, managing director, Pearson Engineering said: “It has been a pleasure to welcome the Prime Minister to Reece Group today and to show her some of the truly world class engineering and manufacturing the North East has to offer.”
At subcontract manufacturer, Responsive Engineering, Mrs May met with John McReady and Ed Thompson, third and fourth-year apprentice CNC machinists, who demonstrated the latest investments in technology including a new Mazak VTC800/30SR machine.
Together with robotic welding equipment, the key machine enables the business to offer an improved manufacturing service to customers and take on increasingly complex and challenging projects particularly in the defence, energy and rail markets.
John Reece, executive chairman, Reece Group, said: “We are pleased to have welcomed the Prime Minister to Reece Group today as part of her visit to the Great Exhibition of the North and to be able to demonstrate the unique facilities and skills we have here in Newcastle at the Armstrong Works.
“We believe that engineering and manufacturing has a valid and prosperous future in the North East.
“The announcement of Government’s procurement strategy earlier this year and selection of the Boxer vehicle means that the prospect of the return of armoured vehicle manufacturing to Tyneside is now a step closer and we hope this will create and sustain jobs at Reece Group and in the wider supply chain.
“There are also exciting opportunities in the rail and renewable energy sectors and we have recently opened a second facility in Port of Blyth to develop these further.
“It was also pleasing to hear about her commitment to investing in innovation and skills to ensure we have the engineers we need in the future.”