A SHINING example of the entrepreneurial spirit of Basingstoke was how Basingstoke MP Maria Miller described a local businessman.

The Culture Secretary paid a visit to LG Motion and MiniTec UK run by managing director Gary Livingstone – and she was impressed with the way the businesses have developed since her last visit.

Back in 2005, Mrs Miller opened a factory that Mr Livingstone had set up on Bessemer Park.

Since then, his engineering businesses have moved location and gone from strength to strength, working with clients as diverse as the world of Formula 1 racing, the film industry and space research.

Mr Livingstone, who modestly describes his enterprises as “working on stuff that goes in and out, up and down, and round and round”, was delighted to show Mrs Miller around his current Telford Road factory on the Houndmills Estate.

He said: “It’s great that a Cabinet minister comes in to see you and sees how the businesses are doing. We are proof that UK manufacturing is flourishing.”

Mrs Miller said: “It’s fantastic to come back to see how the businesses are succeeding and thriving.

“And it’s really impressive to come into a business that is working with some important blue chip companies, producing here in Basingstoke high-precision engineering products – products that are going into some of the most important companies in this country and driving our economic success for the future.

“Gary is a shining example of the entrepreneurial spirit of Basingstoke. Basingstoke is one of the top 10 employers in the south of England, and it’s companies like Gary’s that are the life-blood of our town.”

Among the issues Mrs Miller discussed with Mr Living-stone were apprenticeships. She said: “I think apprentice-ships can be an important way for young people, and indeed people of any age, getting into a new area of work and open the door to a real career.

“Companies like LG Motion and MiniTec UK have really shown how you can take on apprentices and grow your business successfully.

“Local businesses taking on youngsters and training them through an apprenticeship system is such a great way of building business but also helping youngsters into really important jobs.”

Mrs Miller pointed out that the number of apprentice-ships in Basingstoke has doubled since 2010 – thanks to increased support from employers like LG Motion and MiniTec UK.

While at the factory, Mrs Miller met with three of Mr Livingstone’s young prodigies – Richard Eastwood, 24, Ross Ellett, 19, and Robert Kirrage, 22.

All three said they like the working environment and appreciate the opportunity to earn while they learn.

Mr Eastwood, from Chineham, who has worked at the factory for two years, said: “I get a good sense of satis-faction working here as it’s good to see products being made from start to finish, and I’m always learning some-thing new.”