Duke of York visits to give young apprentices royal seal of approval
PRINCE Andrew praised young apprentices at a Notts training centre yesterday and encouraged them to become leading lights for the furniture industry.
The Duke of York officially opened Webs Furniture Training's new centre in Beeston during his day long visit to the county.
He also stopped at Nottingham High School and West Nottinghamshire College in Kirkby-in-Ashfield.
As part of the trip the Prince heard about the progress of the Working with Youth scheme – an employer-led effort to tackle youth unemployment.
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His Royal Highness stopped and talked to young apprentices about their courses as he was given a tour of Webs' new building, which houses work rooms for cabinet fitting, upholstery, wood machining and other furniture making methods.
While at the upholstery station, he spoke to 20-year-old apprentice Jake Bailey.
Jake, of Lowdham, said: "The Prince asked us the difference between good quality furniture and bad quality and how a customer would decide between the two.
"He also asked about the stages that a piece of furniture went through. It was really nice to get to speak to him."
Kitchen installation apprentice Glyn Jarvis, 18, also enjoyed being part of the royal visit.
Glyn, of Nuthall, said: "This is such a brilliant building with state-of-the-art facilities. It is completely different from the old building we used to work in. My aim is to set up my own kitchen installation business one day and be self-employed."
The Duke of York was accompanied on his tour by civic guests including the High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire Liell Francklin, Notts County Council chief executive Michael Burrows and Mayor of Broxtowe Councillor Margaret Handley.
Webs directors Peter Sisson and Maureen Adams-Cooke led the Prince's tour of the £2.2 million training facility.
Mr Sisson said: "During his tour around the building he took a genuine interest in the work the apprentices were doing, taking time to chat to them about their individual projects and taking a close look at their work.
"He was very impressed with what we have achieved here and the fact that he took the time to pay us a visit is a real boost, not just to the apprentices but to the whole furniture industry."
The visit ended with the Prince unveiling a plaque to mark the opening of the building, which offers facilities for 200 learners - but it didn't go quite to plan, with the stick that was used to open the curtains over the plaque falling off in his hand.
He said: "It is particularly pleasing to come here and see the co-operation and collaboration between businesses and apprentices but also to see how young people here are really engaged."
He told the apprentices: "You are the future of the furniture trade in this country over the next 30 years and could well end up running your own business in a few years time. You really can achieve that."