Business Secretary Dr Vince Cable was welcomed to Oaklands College in St Albans.

A packed audience of employers, apprentices, and A-Level students together with East of England Liberal Democrat MEP Andrew Duff came together on Friday to listen to Mr Cable over a breakfast prepared by the college apprentices.

After being introduced by Zoe Hancock, college principal, Mr Cable, a former chief economist for Shell, gave a masterclass talk on Britain's economic position and prospects and the challenges of achieving sustainable recovery. 

He emphasised the importance of "developing a long-term strategy beyond the short-termism of the political cycle". As well as this he described the huge increase in apprenticeships under the coalition Government, led by his department.  Two million new apprenticeships have been created.

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There was also a question and answer session, where students got an opportunity to grill Mr Cable.

Councillor Sandy Walkington, St Albans Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate closed the meeting by describing his own start in life as an 18-year-old apprentice in Germany loading lorries and how his German industrial experience when compared with jobs in British factories beset with industrial strife, led him to become a Liberal Democrat. 

He said: "When we got Vince's agreement to take time out of his horrendous schedule to come to St Albans, I was determined to showcase Oaklands to him as a jewel in the St Albans crown.

"The college did brilliantly in bringing together such an interesting mix of audience.  And Vince really enjoyed his subsequent tour meeting young people learning about motor repairs, building and catering."