AEROSPACE Minister Richard Harrington met workers at Thales in Crawley yesterday.

The visit came as the Government unveiled its ambitious Industrial Strategy setting out a long-term plan to boost the UK’s productivity and increase earning power.

The strategy, published by Business Secretary Greg Clark, will drive growth across London and the South East while boosting skills, tackling productivity and improving infrastructure.

To mark the launch of the strategy, Mr Harrington met workers at Thales, a global leader in the aerospace, transport, defence, security and space sectors.

He toured the company’s manufacturing floor at its Manor Royal base, meeting some of the 2,000 staff who work in highly skilled, advanced manufacturing roles.

He also had the opportunity to see some of the company’s flight simulators which are used to train pilots for defence purposes.

He saw the market-leading technology being developed which will allow passengers to use services such as Skype and television streaming services while in the air.

Mr Harrington was also introduced to young people benefiting from The Prince’s Trust’s engineering programme, which is being run in conjunction with Thales, to enable young, local people from disadvantaged backgrounds to get experience in engineering.

Mr Harrington said: “Our ambitious Industrial Strategy sets out a long-term plan to boost productivity and earning power across all regions of the country.

“The work being done at Thales is world-leading and exactly the sort of highly skilled work that gives people opportunities and helps our economy to thrive.

“I am particularly impressed by the work that Thales and The Prince’s Trust are doing in collaboration to inspire young people from the area to consider a career in engineering.

“Giving young people the skills they need for careers of the future is key to driving up productivity and ensuring people can reach their full potential.”

Victor Chavez, chief executive of Thales in the UK, said: “Thales welcomes the government’s Industrial Strategy which sets out a foundation for strengthening the UK’s productivity.

“Transformative technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data analytics, cyber security and digital connectivity are key areas of investment for Thales.”