Last week was an important one for skilled manufacturing on the Isle of Wight. 

Britten Norman, the Bembridge-based maker of the iconic Islander plane, is returning its production line from the EU to the Isle of Wight.

It’s doing so because costs are rising in eastern Europe and because the best guarantee of quality production was to make the Islander back on the Island.

Some might see it as a Brexit dividend, but what’s as important is that this is an example of something called on-shoring.

That’s when industry which has gone abroad returns home. It’s something I think we should encourage.

Britten-Norman will be making between eight to 16 planes a year.

Since the Islander was first designed, 1,300 made been made, 97 percent for export to dozens of countries around the world.

They have already hired more Islanders to build the plane, including apprentices, and more will be hired in the future.

Some people think that Britain is no longer a manufacturing country. That’s not true.

We are still in the top ten global manufacturing nations in terms of output, it’s just that robots and machines have taken over the hard task of making.

On the Island and especially around the Medina River, we have a cluster of companies making things that the rest of the world want.

What started off as boat making turned into plane making, then hovercraft making and back to boat and plane making.

GKN produce wingtips casing and other materials for many of the world’s planes, BAe the Navy’s radar and Vestas blades for offshore wind farms.

On top of that we make vessels on both sides of the Medina River.

In fact only yesterday I dropped into GKN for the apprenticeship day.

Our cluster of global leaders need talented apprentices. I will be working over the coming months to raise the profile of some of the amazing schemes on the Island, brilliantly supported by Isle of Wight College’s CECAMM (Centre of Excellence for Composites, Advanced Manufacturing and Marine) which is helping to provide the skills our young – and sometimes not so young – Islanders need.

One of the things I am most focused on is making sure young people feel that there is a future on the Island.

We have amazing quality of life and safe communities. It’s a good place to grow up.

I also want to make sure it is a great place to work too – and thanks to companies like Britten Norman coming home, that is now more true than ever.