Senior managers at Egger met with politicians in Hexham earlier this week to discuss the achievements and challenges faced by the company earlier this week.
Paul Brannen MEP and Liam Carr the prospective parliamentary candidate for Hexham met with the management teams for Egger and Egger forestry which is a separate company offering a complete forest management service.
The chipboard manufacturer has remained in a strong position, in spite of the global economic downturn, producing materials not only for the building trade but also finished products for home improvements such as laminate flooring and furniture.
Mr Carr said “Across the manufacturing sector skilled engineers are in short supply, Egger do a great job in training their own apprentices but more are needed, if I was giving careers advice I would advise young people to give careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths serious consideration”
Mr Carr also advocates radical change in the way that vocational qualifications and apprenticeships are applied for;
“Work must be done to address the skills shortage. Vocational routes are just as valid as more traditional University courses. One change would be to have higher level vocational training and apprenticeships applied for via the UCAS system, so that students studying Level 3 qualifications such as A-Levels are presented with a full range of options”
The supply of high quality raw materials is vital to the business up to 40% of recycled wood can be used but the rest must come from sustainable sources such as Kielder forest
Paul Brannen MEP added;
“Egger is the jewel in the Hexham economy and is a real European success story. Not only is Egger an economic force in its own right but it brings jobs through the supply chain. It is the biggest single buyer of timber from Kielder for example. As a member of the European Agriculture and Rural Development Committee I believe that the North East is well poised to expand our rural economy and deliver growth and jobs.”