PM Hails Rolls-Royce's New SUV
The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has praised Rolls-Royce's plans to build a new SUV car on a visit to the company's plant at Goodwood, West Sussex.
Mr Cameron said that Rolls-Royce's proposed development highlighted the vital role that the car industry plays in the country's economy. His visit to Rolls-Royce's factory was part of a wider tour of the car-manufacturing sector in the UK. During the visit, Mr Cameron spoke to the company's 800 workers. He congratulated them on building the new SUV and said that this would protect jobs and livelihoods in Goodwood and also in the car industry.
Mr Cameron said that the government would do everything in its power to help Rolls-Royce in the development, because it was an example of the type of project that the country needed more of. He explained that the UK economy needed more design, development, and manufacturing, in addition to greater investment in technology. He also said that a greater focus was required on teaching science in schools and creating more apprenticeships. With these things in place, he said, the UK could then get out and sell great products to the world. He said that the things that Rolls-Royce were doing were a great example to the rest of industry and a vital part of the UK economy.
Mr Cameron added that the UK car industry is currently undergoing a renaissance in almost all sectors. He pointed to the domination British companies enjoy in Formula 1, along with the success of British luxury cars and even mass-market models. The Prime Minister said that the car industry was one area where British manufacturing was enjoying real success, and he pointed to how the different areas of the industry complemented each other, leading to even greater success. The Prime Minister also spent the day visiting the Vauxhall factory in Luton and the Cosworth plant at Northampton.
Mr Cameron used his car-industry tour to place a special emphasis on the importance of apprenticeships. He said that UK industry was now doing more to grow apprenticeships, but that it still was not enough. He said that he had long been an admirer of the German system of apprenticeships and planned to copy some aspects of their approach. He also pointed out that the UK had had two million apprentices in the course of the present parliament and would have three million in the next one. Pointing to some of the issues with apprenticeships in the UK, he said that he was personally disappointed by how little effort went into promoting apprenticeships and vocational training in our schools. He then pointed out that young people completing apprenticeships were likely to command a higher wage than university graduates. He argued, therefore that companies both small and large needed to boost their efforts to increase the number of apprentices they took on.
The Prime Minister then concluded that Britain needed to create a culture that celebrated engineering and vocational work just as much as it did academic achievement. In doing so, he said, Britain could go on to become an extremely successful nation.
Mr Cameron's visit to Roll-Royce's Goodwood factory was the first time that a current Prime Minister had visited the plant. It also revealed an interesting fact about life as Prime Minister. During the visit, a Rolls-Royce worker invited the Prime Minister to get behind the wheel of one of the company's cars and take it for a test drive. Mr Cameron declined, saying that as Prime Minister he was not allowed to drive. Instead, he said, he was driven around by his security team. He revealed that he had not actually driven a car on the road for almost five years. Mr Cameron was also rather sheepish in admitting to the Rolls-Royce worker that the cars used to ferry him around were, in fact, Jaguars.
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