It was wonderful to be able to participate in a number of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations locally. Linslade School put on a wonderful afternoon of music and exhibitions for parents and carers. At Collins Aerospace in Grovebury Road I joined the Mayor to help plants two trees in honour of the Jubilee and to celebrate an incredible 38 years of service to the company by Clive and 37 years by Glenn. It was a pleasure to meet a number of the staff at Collins Aerospace, a business that clearly looks after its staff well and is repaid by fantastic staff loyalty.
It was very good to learn that Collins Aerospace is taking on apprentices, about to employ 20 more staff and that its turnover has returned to 2019 levels despite having lost its Russian business because of Putin’s illegal and barbaric invasion of Ukraine. There are many reasons why we must do all we can to help Ukrainians defeat this unjustified aggression which is responsible for so much of the increase in energy and food prices.
At the start of last week I was joined by the Skills Minister on a visit to Rampower, a hydraulic cylinder business in Houghton Regis. The business contacted me because they are short of CNC operators. A qualified CNC operator can earn around £50,000 and we are very short of them. I was joined on the visit by staff from Bedford College who are working with Rampower to expedite the training of these much-needed staff.
I have also asked that the Leighton Buzzard Engineering and Construction Skills Centre become the location for a CNC operator skills boot camp to provide this vital training. Collins Aerospace also have a great need for CNC operators and we need the best possible links with local schools to make sure that we get the right talent pipeline so that our area remains a high skill high wage economy.
I continued my campaign this week to increase general practice capacity in areas of high housing growth by speaking in the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill debate. The Government believe that the new infrastructure levy will help in this area but I want a lot more certainty about how it will work and we urgently need an increase in capacity to accommodate the large number of new homes which we have already built in the area. I make no apologies for continuing to push the government to get this right at every possible opportunity. It is what my constituents tell me they want me to do and I shall carry on following their instructions.