POLITICIANS could do more to help young people into apprenticeships, an eminent engineer has said.
Silhillian Colin Bell, who worked on the Space Shuttle programme, said it was vital to give today’s generation the training and skills they would need for the modern world.
During his career, the Solihull Rotarian has worked on technology for fighter-jets, race cars as well as his spell for NASA.
By the time he retired, four years ago, he’d lent his expertise to British, American and Chinese firms.
“What enabled me to work on the projects that I did was the experience that I’d acquired,” explained the 78-year-old.
“It’s so important that today’s young people are trained up to learn a skill, the same way I was - they deserve that opportunity.”
Over the years Colin helped design technology for the likes of Concorde - the Anglo-French supersonic airliner.
He was also approached by Lotus Cars founder Colin Chapman, who wanted his advice on speeding up Formula One racing cars.
“I met him at Silverstone and he told me that to survive and get sponsorship, his cars needed to be finishing in the top three.
“So I got to work checking tyre pressures and make the cars faster, that year Lotus won the World Championships!”
Despite recent closures, mergers and buy-outs, Colin remains optimistic about Britain’s manufacturing industry.
“Our technology is known for its quality, innovation and reliability, but we have to remain competitive,” he said
“It would be good if money could be spent on setting up a trades fair for smaller businesses.
“I also think that there needs to be more people in Government who actually understand the industry.”