Following meeting in November 2012 with Bala Mahendran CEO of Basildon Council, he had extended an invitation for a visit by BBG to Basildon to meet some of local high companies in auto/aviation & technical apprenticeship/ education
On 3rd April arrangements were made for Christie Cherian to visit Basildon and meet Bala Mahendran to discuss co-operation between BBG and Basildon to look at specific areas and meet some local high-tech companies. Basildon Council itself has made improvements in it’s operations and in provision of facilities/ services locally – it was felt some of these could be offered to Chennai’s Corporation if the right connections can be made at appropriate levels. Christie was also able to tell Bala of planned June 13 BBG trade mission which Bala welcomed and said they could field some visits / meetings
Of big interest was the visit to Prospects College which has a commendable apprenticeship scheme to source well trained technicians for the high-tech companies locally. Christie visited the brand new Futures Community College and was taken around an impressive purpose-built building training some 600 technical students – some have been absorbed by local companies. At Gardner Aerospace, Christie was taken around a very high-tech plant with CNC lathes turning out aircraft parts for Boeing and other aviation companies (Gardner recently acquired a company in Bangalore and has 2 factories in Poland). Gardner employs 17 apprentices from Prospects. The third location visited was MIRA a company based in Nuneaton doing auto and aviation components and environment testing.
The tour around industrial estates of Basildon and Wickford revealed a very active business region just 40 minutes out of London and showed that UK still has interesting manufacturing in high-end products.