Princess Royal impressed by Chatteris firm's history of apprenticeships and hopes to see more young women join Stainless Metalcraft
Chatteris firm Stainless Metalcraft was given the royal seal of approval today (Friday) when the Princess Royal paid a visit.
However, while praising the firm for its 100 years of apprenticeships Princess Anne also called for the recruitment of more female apprentices.
Speaking after unveiling a commemorative plaque the Princess Royal said apprentices and training were a crucial part of the company's success and added: "I saw one young lady today, I would love to see more young women encouraged to come and join you."
The Princess arrived by car having flown into Chatteris by helicopter landing on the playing field at the Cromwell Community College.
She was welcomed to Metalcraft by Julie Spence, Cambridgeshire's Lord Lieutentant who introduced her to a line-up of dignitaries including Cambridgeshire's mayor James Palmer, chairman of Fenland District Council Councillor Kay Mayor and representatives from the council including Gary Garford, Fenland's corporate director for economic development.
Metalcraft's managing director Austen Adams then introduced her to members of his team before leading the Princess on a tour of the site.
The focus of the visit was Metalcraft's long history of apprenticeships and the Princess spent time to chatting to current trainees as well as long serving members of staff who started life at the firm as apprentices.
Among those she met was David Abbs who having retired had returned to help train apprentices in Metalcraft's Fenland Engineering Skills Centre. She also met Michael Wills who told her he had been with the company for over 50 years, bringing a chuckle from his colleagues.
Metalcraft also has a record of community involvement from providing grants to local organisations to helping with various projects and Her Royal Highness was introduced to representatives from groups that had benefited from the firm's support.
These included Chatteris Christmas Lights volunteer Jem Finch who is wheelchair-bound. Metalcraft apprentices built a special ramp to allow him access to the lights storage area without having to ask for help.
Other representatives included: Simon Grainger from St Peter's Tennis Club which benefited from a grant to provide new equipment, Alan Melton from the town's cricket club who also benefited from a grant; deputy mayor James Carney and town clerk Joanna Melton who outlined the apprentices work to provide special planters outside the council offices and PC Kurt Allen who told the Princess about the apprentices work on the underpass at Jack's.
The Princess Royal then moved on to see apprentices working with pupils from Kingsfield Primary School on an engineering task to build a tower out of sticks and sweets.
Finally at the end of the visit the Princess unveiled the plaque before being presented with a posy by Kingsfield pupil Kayla Hay, who recently won a Pride In Fenland Award for her charity work while fighting a rare form of leukaemia.
She then gave a wave to the gathered crowd before being driven away.
Afterwards Mr Adams said he was delighted with the visit and said: "She was very encouraging and honestly interested. We had a tight programme that we had to whizz her through in fairly short order, but she did take time to speak to as many people as it was possible to do. I think she was very since and interested in what we do here."