I met with two of the larger employers in the constituency, both located on the Leeming Bar Industrial Estate: R&R Ice Cream and Vale of Mowbray.
R&R Ice Cream was founded by local farmer Jonathan Ropner and businessman James Lambert. Today it is one of the largest ice cream manufacturers in the world, employing thousands of people and a truly global business.
Vale of Mowbray makes the well-known pork pies we all enjoy. The company is owned by the local Gatenby family and produces over a million pies each week! I met with management and workers on the production line and had a fantastic tour around the plant, doing my best not to eat everything in sight! After some extensive sampling, I concluded that my new favourite is the bacon and cheese pork pie – delicious!
Companies like these need access to skilled employees. They are both focused on providing training for employees as production quality is so important. As a country, we don’t do a good enough job of graduating enough young people who have expertise in sciences and maths, crucial subjects for studying manufacturing or engineering. I have spent a lot of my time working on getting young people to take up STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, maths), setting up after school science clubs for primary school children.
Government must also ensure these businesses are supported when they want to expand, or invest – this means getting tax policy right, ensuring local infrastructure and services are available and improving the quality and availability of skills and our workforce.