Prince Andrew learns “something new” during Dagenham visit

Prince Andrew with ford apprentice Vanessa Clayden

Prince Andrew with ford apprentice Vanessa Clayden - Credit: Archant

The Duke of York said he learned “something new” after he met business people and students during a visit to a campus that provides workspace to various organisations.

Prince Andrew with ford apprentice Vanessa Clayden

Prince Andrew with ford apprentice Vanessa Clayden - Credit: Archant

Prince Andrew praised the Centre for Engineering and Manufacturing Excellence (CEME) during his tour of the site in Dagenham and added: “I learn something new from my travels every single day and I have learned lots of things that I will take with me.”

Prince Andrew with ford apprentice Vanessa Clayden

Prince Andrew with ford apprentice Vanessa Clayden - Credit: Archant

The Duke arrived at the centre in Marsh Way at 11.30am last Wednesday (June 5) and was greeted by CEME’s CEO Bill Williams and chairman Martin Broadhurst.

Prince Andrew with ford apprentice Vanessa Clayden

Prince Andrew with ford apprentice Vanessa Clayden - Credit: Archant

He was given a tour of the centre, where he was able to meet staff from a number of businesses in the innovation centre.

The Duke also spent time chatting to students who were testing out trebuchet catapults that they had made in the lesson. He laughed as he told them he could stay there to “play all day”, but he had work to do.

Prince Andrew also visited the CEME workshop, where he chatted to 19-year-old Ford apprentice Vanessa Clayden. She described the Duke as “very nice” and added: “He was really keen to find out what I was doing.”

After lunch, the Duke learned about the High Speed Sustainable Manufacturing Institute, which is based at the centre, and met students who have already signed up to the technical college, which is due to open at the centre in September 2014.

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He chatted to student Callum Manning, 14 and his mum, Toni Quick, 36.

Toni said: “He was very relaxed and enthusiastic.

“I felt quite comfortable chatting to him, I was a little nervous at first but he made me feel at ease.

“He seemed really convinced about the benefits of studying at a technical college.”

The Duke’s visit ended with him praising the concept of the college.

He said: “The technical college that will open next year will be a really important addition to the work of CEME.

“Being told ‘no’ at school is not good enough - they need to be told that in the real world of work everything is possible.”