A senior Conservative politician has made a whirlwind campaign visit to an Alfreton school and praised its efforts to plug an industry skills gap.
Former party leader Iain Duncan Smith stopped into the David Nieper Academy, on Grange Street, on Thursday, May 25.
He came to find out about the successes of the first UK fashion business to sponsor a school.
Mr Duncan Smith said: “The David Nieper Academy is exemplary in the way it has tackled the skills shortage in its local area by training up young people in readiness for employment.
“Not only does the British manufacturing industry benefit, people living in the community have the opportunity to gain the skills they need to get a job and progress with their career.”
David Nieper Ltd has been one of Alfreton’s largest employers for 55 years and one of the few British fashion houses that has never taken production overseas.
Instead it has prioritised creating jobs for local people and more recently prioritised educating local children, formally taking over Alfreton Grange Arts College in 2016.
It has also supported local primary schools, sponsored university bursaries and set up a dedicated sewing school.
The politician added: “I hope many other businesses see the enormous advantages in investing in our young people so they can fulfil their potential and British manufacturing can thrive.”
The company’s managing director Christopher Nieper said: “We appreciate this recognition of our endeavours to help secure the future of Alfreton through education and skills.
“All young people regardless of background should be capable of living fulfilling and productive lives - we are hoping to help them achieve this through our work.”