The Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, Ed Balls visited Ferguson Engineering in Nelson and saw proof of how apprentices can help businesses grow and succeed.

Ed Balls MP, accompanied by prospective parliamentary candidate Azhar Ali, visited Ferguson Engineering in Nelson to learn more about how apprenticeships are helping this thriving company to go from strength to strength, including success in exporting to Saudi Arabia.

Mr Balls was given a tour of Ferguson Engineering (Northern) Ltd’s Lomeshaye Industrial Estate base, meeting current apprentices and staff who have progressed from an apprenticeship to more senior roles with the company. He also met with Ferguson’s Managing Director Phil Williams and the owner of the business, Ray Ferguson.

Ros Barlow, Ferguson Engineering HR Director, said: “We have a long established tradition of employing apprentices from Nelson and Colne College. They understand our business needs and the importance of apprentices to our future growth. We have been concerned about potential changes to the way apprenticeships are delivered so it was a fantastic opportunity to meet an influential policy maker to discuss our concerns and show him how they could impact on our business.”

Amanda Melton, Nelson and Colne College Principal, added: “I was delighted to take Mr Balls to a top local business to demonstrate how apprentices are helping highly successful companies to bridge their skills gaps. Pendle has outstanding opportunities; both for growing business and the young people who will go on to strengthen their workforce.”

“Our apprentices got a real buzz from showing Mr Balls the fantastic products they manufacture here in Pendle and he was really interested in the skills they had gained both in College and the workplace.”