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Sunday, 26 October 2014

Government minister visits event showcasing Carlisle success stories

Manufacturing industry in Carlisle is alive and well.

Made in Carlisle event photo
From left, John Stevenson MP, minister Mark Prisk and Simon Rees and Naomi Gough from Print Graphic

That was the message from ‘Made by Carlisle’ an event staged at Carlisle College to showcase the range and quality of goods manufactured in the city.

More than 20 companies exhibited including major employers such as Pirelli, McVitie's, Enesco, Linton Tweeds and Stead McAlpin.

But there were lesser-known success stories too.

Chapman Bags at Harraby Green Business Park employs 17 staff producing hand-made canvass and leather shoulder bags, luggage and fishing bags, which are sought after by consumers in Japan and the US. Business is booming and the factory is expanding.

Steed Bespoke Tailors in Junction Street sends 85 per cent of its suits to the US and is looking to export to China where demand for premium-quality western goods is soaring.

Lawson Engineers of Dalston has been making high-quality mechanical-handling systems since 1965. In those days its main customers were in mining and shipbuilding. Now 75 per cent of its business is with the offshore oil and gas sector.

As it was National Apprenticeship Week, the company sent 20-year-old apprentice Matty Foster, of Dalston, as one of its representatives at Made by Carlisle. The former pupil of Caldew School is three years into a four-year apprenticeship as a mechanical machining engineer.

He said: “It is good because you earn and learn at the same time. I have a year left until I’m time served and hopefully I’ll be taken on.”

Carlisle MP John Stevenson hosted the event in partnership with Carlisle College. Invitations went to schools to give youngsters a taste of the career opportunities in manufacturing.

Housing Minister Mark Prisk, who was until recently Minister for Business, Innovation and Skills, was the VIP guest and was clearly impressed by what he saw.

Mr Prisk said: “There are some fantastic and creative businesses here. It is really encouraging.”

He was equally positive about the outlook for UK manufacturing in general, adding: “We are producing more cars in this country than at any time in my lifetime. The Government has a clear strategy. We are investing in technology and skills. We have seen the number of apprentices go up by 86 per cent in two years.”

Mr Stevenson said: “The two most important things for having a vibrant city are successful businesses and good quality education and skills. Both of these are in evidence at Made by Carlisle. It shows young people that there is a good career for them in manufacturing.”

College principal Moira Tattersall said Carlisle could be proud of its manufacturing businesses.

She said: “We are very pleased to be able to host something like this where employers can showcase what they do.”

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