THE shadow defence secretary has visited digger giant JCB to discuss the importance of skills to the local economy.
Vernon Coaker was joined by Liam Byrne, the shadow minister for universities, science and skills, for a special visit to the Rocester-based headquarters, as well as to JCB Academy.
This visit followed an earlier trip in the year when Mr Byrne joined Labour parliamentary candidate Jon Wheale and local businesses to discuss the importance of skills.
Mr Wheale said: “We were all hugely impressed by what we saw and heard and fully support the emphasis placed by the company and its senior management on the importance of skills, education and training.
“We must ensure young people have the skills needed to fill the positions offered by local companies and global players like JCB.”
The Labour hopeful said skills, education and training are vital to building the high-skill, high-wage economy Uttoxeter wants and needs.
He revealed this days after his party outlined plans to scrap out-of-work benefits for 18-to-21 year olds and replace them with a cheaper means-tested payment dependent on training.
Mr Wheale added: “Our aim in Burton and Uttoxeter must be to help our young people so they will never again be able to describe themselves as a ‘NEET’ (a young person not in employment, education or training).
“We must equip them with the abilities they need to do the highly skilled and highly paid jobs we want to attract to this area.
“Any initiative which incentivises them to reach their potential through education and training has to be welcome.”