Innovation in recycling technologies and growing employment opportunities for graduates and apprentices captured the interest of the Deputy Prime Minister when he visited a Manchester-based resource recovery company during his Northern Futures campaign in October.
Nick Clegg spent an hour at Axion Consulting’s Bramhall offices where staff, apprentices and placement students described key developments in their work, including recovering materials from fuel cells and from end-of-life vehicles.
He also met project managers running national collection schemes for recycling carpets, vinyl flooring and rigid PVC, and heard of the need for enforcement of environmental regulations to ensure a ‘level playing field’ for businesses like Axion.
He was greeted by Axion’s Commercial Operations Manager, Judith Clayman and Axion Director Roger Morton who said: “Mr Clegg was clearly extremely impressed by the innovative work we’ve done in building our Trafford Park plant to recover metals and high-grade plastics from end-of-life vehicles that go back as new components into new cars like the BMW Mini.
“He recognised the value of our innovative process developments in green technologies and was also very excited by the collaborative research work that we are doing with Johnson Matthey and Technical Fibre Products on recovering materials from spent fuel cells.”
Senior Engineer Sam Haig and George Rapa, a chemical engineering student on placement from Birmingham University, outlined latest progress on Axion’s fuel cells project, which is part-funded by Innovate UK.
The Liberal Democrat leader also enjoyed a lively debate on European policy reforms with Axion’s newest laboratory apprentices, Scott Flanagan and Simon Davidson and accounts apprentice Jordan Farrelly before departing to continue his tour of the North West to discuss local growth.
Roger added: “Mr Clegg was also interested in the different routes by which our apprentices had joined us; either from school sixth form or switching from a BTEC science course to gain practical experience on the job. Our policy has always been to support job opportunities for talented local people, whether through graduate recruitment, student placements or apprenticeships.
Mr Clegg was accompanied by Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, Mark Hunter, MP for Cheadle & Bramhall and Liberal Democrat Chief Whip and Jeremy Meal, Liberal Democrat candidate for Bramhall South and Woodford.
Axion Consulting is part of the Axion Group that develops and operates innovative resource recovery and processing solutions for recycling waste materials. The Group works with a wide range of clients, from Government agencies and local authorities to companies in diverse commercial sectors, on the practical development of new processing and collection methods to recover value from waste resources.