A truckers-style bacon buttie breakfast greeted a Government Minister when he arrived to open a new £1 million training centre for transport and logistics at Buxton & Leek College.
Secretary of State for Transport, the Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP, arrived at the Harpur Hill site of the college in a brand new Mercedes truck, chauffeured by John Nelson of Nelson Distribution.
He was there to officially open the college's Skillsbase Training Centre on the Harpur Hill Business Park, near Buxton.
He toured facilities at the vocational training centre, met students, unveiled a commemorative plaque and presented two students – Colin Bradley and Dean Turner -– with their forklift truck licences gained at the new centre using vehicles provided by one of the centre's sponsors, Briggs Equipment.
After viewing industry-standard training facilities in motor vehicle engineering, logistics, warehousing, construction crafts, welding and driving, the minister, who is MP for West Derbyshire, said: "I think it is a very impressive facility which the motor vehicle industry will want to look at.
"Technology is taking over in the transport industry, but it is still an industry of older people.
"Young people want to know that there is a career path for them and the message we want to get across is that there have been huge changes in transport and logistics because customers don't want to wait.
"Deliveries have got to be made on time and it is vitally important we attract young people into the transport industry."
The Minister met students including Daniel Askew, aged 20, who travels from Derby each day to study for his Level Three qualification in Motor Vehicle Studies and is hoping to get a job in diagnostics.
He said: "The equipment we have here at Skillsbase is really good. We have all the latest computer diagnostic equipment sponsored by Snap-On Tools and brand new cars donated by Toyota, and I am particularly interested in the diagnostics side of motor vehicles and hoping to study for an advanced certificate in that and look for work with Toyota, Renault, Citroen or BMW."
The Motor Vehicle department's two female students, Clare Milner and Sophie Ball, were also introduced to the Minister.
Clare, aged 17, from Buxton, said: "A lot of my family are in the motor business and I hope, one day, to run my own garage.
"I go home with black hands at the end of the day but it doesn't bother me one bit."
VIP guests at the event included leading names in the world of transport such as Richard Lomas of Lomas Distribution and Paul Byrne from Bibby, High Peak MP Andrew Bingham and civic dignitaries including High Peak Mayor Tony Kemp and Leek Mayor John Fisher.
Buxton and Leek College Principal Len Tildsley said: "Skillsbase is the employment training division of Buxton & Leek College and we have invested more than £1 million over the past 18 months to create a learning environment where students can experience vocational learning first hand.
"We have worked with employers to shape the facilities to provide the right training to meet not just local but national demand. We hope these facilities will go some way to meeting the training needs of our future workforce."
It is not too late to apply to Buxton & Leek College and take advantage of facilities such as the Skillsbase Training Centre. Visit www.blc.ac.uk or call 0800 074 0099 to find out more.