MANUFACTURING in the county, the positive impact it is making on the county’s economy and on training for young people has long been underrated, according to one leading unsung business hero.
The spotlight was shone yesterday on Gloucester company Poeton as Government minister for skills and enterprise, Matthew Hancock, visited the city to announce £2.69million for small businesses nationally in the shape of the Mentoring Challenge Fund.
Mr Hancock announced the launch of the scheme at GET – Gloucestershire Engineering Training – explaining it would provide 13 projects across the country with a share of £1.27million to help with skills and which was expected to create 200 new jobs.
He then went on to visit Eastern Avenue-based engineering firm Poeton, a surface coating specialist.
Anthony Poeton, chairman of the company, said: “I think the capability of Gloucestershire for engineering and manufacturing is far above what most people understand. Companies like ours are working with local firms, with the nuclear power industry, Formula 1, civil and defence aerospace.
“These are exciting high-tech projects. This is not an office where we just shuffle paper.”
He added: “We have a long tradition of creating and training apprentices which has been running in the company for 40 years, but apprentices have not been popular for the last 10 years.
“We are impressed with the encouragement we have been getting from Government over the last two to three years and having the minister visit is further encouragement.”
Visits like Mr Hancock’s, said Mr Poeton, helped turn a positive spotlight on the efforts being made to help businesses and young people into training in the city.
“We are a company that has expanded significantly over the last year.
“We now employ 130 people. In 2009 we employed 99,” he said.
Projects announced under the Mentoring Challenge Fund cover 10 different sectors including creative industries, life sciences and manufacturing, and will provide mentors to ambitious company bosses in these industries.