HRH visited Nifco Ltd in Stockton-On-Tees. Nifco are a leading supplier of plastic components for the automotive industry. The Duke, who had visited their previous factory in 2011, looked around the factory and was briefed on the company’s growth over the past three years.
HRH also met young people taking part in the Nifco Apprenticeship Scheme across a variety of trades including toolmakers, maintenance technicians, production engineers and accounting.
Speaking to the guests The Duke said “It is a real privilege to come back to Nifco today and see how that empty space has been used, with the first factory full and the new one filling up quickly. I have talked to the Apprentices and it is very clear that Nifco is investing in the future, and not only on the shop-floor but investing in apprentices throughout the business. For me, that is fantastic”.
HRH then attended the opening of Trinity Square, Gateshead, an urban regeneration project including shops, cafes, a cinema, health facilities, offices and accommodation for nearly 1,000 students from Northumbria University. HRH met with representatives from the university and council to hear about the partnership that had made the development possible. The Duke then met Apprentices from companies involved in the construction, current student and graduates from Northumbria University who have started their own businesses.
In Trinity Square, The Duke unveiled a Plaque and wished the people of Gateshead a very Merry Christmas.
The Duke, Admiral of the Sea Cadet Corps, then visited The Derwenthaugh Boat House which was established in 1987 to serve the Northumberland District Sea Cadet Units. The boat station has created a new accommodation building to extend the reach of their facilities to new communities around the North East. The new facility will allow more than four hundred Sea Cadets to stay in the new accommodation. Derwenthaugh is now the most significant facility for boat training in the region.
The Duke met with Sea Cadets undertaking training activities including The Duke of Edinburgh Award, First Aid Training and Chart Work. HRH also met Trustees, Funders and Supporters before unveiling a Plaque to commemorate his visit.
Finally, The Duke visited Studio West to meet Tycoon in Schools teams during their busy trading period. Studio West is the first Studio School to be opened in Newcastle and the first 13-19 Studio School in the United Kingdom. The Tycoon in Schools Competition, run by The Peter Jones Foundation, challenges young people to start their own business. Studio West’s two teams were joined by five teams from Whitley Bay High School including “Cups and Cakes and more” and “Zulu Cosmetics”. The Duke was extremely impressed by the level of ingenuity and entrepreneurship within the teams. HRH, who will host the awards ceremony of the competition at Buckingham Palace in the New Year, ended the visit saying “It’s very interesting to see not only the thought that you have put into your ideas but how you have come together and worked as a team. So I would just like to say congratulations. I wish you all every success and hopefully we’ll see some of you at the prize giving in February.”
See photos from the day here