THIS week I was delighted to welcome the Skills Minister Matthew Hancock to Fylde as he job shadowed an apprentice at BAE Warton.

The company has one of the UK’s best records when it comes to offering apprenticeships and I know thousands of people in Fylde have either worked for BAE or have friends or family who do.

While we were visiting the site, the Minister was given the opportunity to see Typhoon jets in various stages of construction as well as sit in the cockpit of one and try his hand at operating the aircraft in a flight simulator.

We also met Managing Director Chris Boardman, who spoke about the start of his own career as a trainee with the company, which just goes to show the level of achievement people can aspire to when starting an apprenticeship.

On Friday, I was at the Tower Ballroom in Blackpool where a number of Fylde companies were commended at the Be Inspired Business Awards – BIBAs.

The event was set up to reward the cream of Lancashire’s business community and you could see from the faces of the winners how much it meant to them that their organisation had been recognised for the work they do.

Two of the stand outs this year were Lytham Proms organisers Daniel Cuffe and Peter Taylor winning the Entrepreneur of the Year award, a fitting accolade reflecting their recent success, and Mike Peters’ company Universal Products in Greenhalgh taking home the gong for excellence in customer service.

I recently had the opportunity to meet with two young women from Fylde who are Explorer Scouts and they gave me an insight into what the organisation does and how it has evolved in recent years.

Scouting has produced some of our finest citizens over the years but has not stood still as times have changed and they impressed on me how it is an extremely worthwhile movement which can provide a whole range of opportunities for young people which may not otherwise be available.

I also recently had the opportunity to visit Kirkham and Wesham Primary School where I spoke to Year Six pupils about my role as a Member of Parliament.

The students asked some excellent questions and some of them will hopefully be visiting me in the Houses of Parliament in the near future.

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