A GOVERNMENT minister has praised a partnership involving Hartlepool College of Further Education.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said an academy created by the college and South Shields firm J Barbour & Sons is playing a vital role in creating jobs and stimulating the economy.
Mr Cable visited the firm to announce its Regional Growth Fund award and see how the £549,000 investment will be used to expand capacity and export to new markets.
As well as seeing the manufacture of the world-famous Barbour wax jackets, the Business Secretary met students at the Barbour Academy – a joint venture with Hartlepool College of Further Education which offers apprenticeships and bespoke training for people considering a career in the textile industry.
During the Barbour visit Mr Cable said: “The Regional Growth Fund is playing a pivotal role in supporting British manufacturing and helping to rebalance the economy by creating jobs and stimulating private investment.
“This is no less so than in the North-East where government support is giving firms and SMEs the confidence to invest, hire and grow.
“Barbour clearly has the right approach to skills and their academy with Hartlepool college will ensure that they retain the diverse range of practical skills they need to stay ahead of the competition.
“Their Regional Growth Fund award will create over 130 jobs and help another British success story to meet demand for new growth markets abroad.”