POLITICIANS from all parties spoke in unison to praise the “key” relationship between an aerospace business and a college.
Bosses past and present at the former Deeside College (now Coleg Cambria, Deeside Campus) and Airbus UK were remembered along with council colleagues who fought to bring quality employment back to Flintshire following the mass redundancies at British Steel.
Following their investitures at Buckingham Palace, Airbus UK and Coleg Cambria bosses were invited to a full meeting of Flintshire Council “to recelebrate” their prestigious awards.
The Broughton-based factory and Coleg Cambria have this year been awarded the UK’s highest accolades for business and for further and higher education.
Chief executive Colin Everett welcomed Coleg Cambria chief executive David Jones and executive director engineering and construction Nick Tyson along with Airbus UK’s head of A350 wing Gareth Davies, saying the partnership had been a “flagship for Flintshire”.
Flintshire cabinet member for regeneration Derek Butler said winning a Queen’s Award was like winning an Olympic medal.
Conservative councillor Clive Carver added his congratulations describing Airbus and Coleg Cambria as the “jewels in the crown” of Flintshire.
Fellow Conservative councillor Matt Wright said the close relationship between industry and education was “absolutely key as an anchor for Deeside Enterprize Zone”.
Flint councillor Alex Aldridge praised the men who had led the college, company and authority to turn around the county’s fortunes following the devastation of 1979.
“We must never understate the vision this took,” he said. “We suffered the worst reduction in employment imaginable when 7,800 people lost their livelihoods. The devastation at British Steel was unparallelled.”
Cllr Aldridge urged everyone to remember Will Edmunds and Brian Fleet who led the then Deeside College and former Delyn Council leader Cllr Tony Sharp and his administration.
“They had a vision to lift this county from its knees,” he said.
“You need vision and those men right at the top who believe implicitly in company and product. Who can forget what they put into it, their personal committment?
“Without them, Flintshire wouldn’t be providing the opportunities for young people, getting jobs of the highest quality.”