Improving support for high tech engineering and technology businesses as Brexit progresses will be high on the agenda when Victoria Prentis MP (Con) for Banbury and North Oxfordshire meets staff at Sensor Technology Ltd during National Apprenticeship Week (5 to 9 March 2018). Sensor Technology has a long-standing apprenticeship scheme and is an active member of many support groups such as the Engineering Industries Association and the Tradeshow Access Programme.
“As a small-to-medium enterprise (SME) company we rely on many co-operative programmes to enable us to exhibit internationally, fund development and other such activities that would otherwise be out of our reach,” says Tony Ingham, who has led Sensor Technology’s sales and marketing department for 30 years. “As this year progresses and the Brexit changes begin to take real effect, we have got to be very careful that, as a nation, we can maintain our business levels with the EU.”
In fact Sensor Technology is a prolific exporter, to the EU and elsewhere. It has distributors in Western, Central and Eastern Europe, India, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, North and South America. This wide spread of customers means it is not overly dependent upon the EU, although any disruption to trade would of course be unwelcome.
Further, its main products, wireless torque and load sensors, are built to a unique design, so there is little competition from other products, making their customer base fairly secure. In many cases the sensors are popular because their wireless connection means they are exempt from some certifications. They are also easy to install and set up, which makes them particularly attractive for test and measurement applications where each new test piece or test run requires reinstallation.
“I went to meet Victoria at the Houses of Parliament in January,” says Ingham. “She agreed to come to see us for a longer more detailed meeting and we suggested National Apprenticeship Week as education, training and development are a strategic necessity for us because we must train engineers in our own specialities.”
Prentis is on record as saying that she supports fully the Government’s long term economic plan, and that in the interest of future generations we should “sort out the economy in this parliament”. Banbury and North Oxfordshire currently enjoys low unemployment and over many years there has been positive investment in technology, Formula 1, engineering, and construction businesses.
“I work closely with Business North Oxfordshire to ensure that the views of local employers and small businesses are properly represented in Parliament,” she says. In support of apprenticeships and other training schemes, she says: “I will always seek to encourage local employment opportunities for our young people.”