By Marcus Leach

Business Secretary Vince Cable is visiting Northampton today (Thursday) to see its plans for driving economic growth in the area.

The Business Secretary will meet local construction apprentices, as well as leaders from the South East Midlands local enterprise partnership. They will discuss economic development in the region, one of the UK’s strongest locations for private sector jobs growth.

Announced by the Government in August, the Northampton Enterprise Zone covers 120 hectares of mostly brownfield land alongside the River Nene. It is managed by the South East Midlands local enterprise partnership and aims to build on regional strengths in advanced technologies, high performance engineering, and low carbon technology.

The first building for the Zone was approved earlier this month, a £6.5m innovation centre that will house up to 55 small businesses.

Whilst in Northampton, the Business Secretary will also meet young apprentices from a ground-breaking training scheme known as Construction Futures.

The scheme has an innovative approach, which makes the delivery of construction apprenticeships a legal requirement for developers that receive planning permission. The Business Secretary will meet budding brick-layers and electricians at a major housing development in Upton.

“Northampton is showing that despite tough economic conditions there are still innovative ways that new jobs and growth can be delivered at a local level," Vince Cable said.

“I am particularly pleased to see apprentices working on live construction sites as part of the Construction Futures scheme, which offers an effective way to secure job opportunities for young people. Both this scheme and the Northampton Enterprise Zone will provide new jobs and drive growth across the region.”

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