PRIME Minister David Cameron has praised creative centres of excellence such as the Royal Opera House’s Purfleet production park.

The PM was given a tour of the High House centre on Monday, as part of a campaign visit to the borough ahead of the local and European elections.

He said he had wanted to see the complex, opened in 2010 by the Royal Opera House and Thurrock Council, adding: “It’s really impressive.

“The cultural and creative industries are both growth areas across the country and we are right to invest in them.

“They’re particularly important in taking on apprentices and training people and we have a great example of that here in Thurrock – I met some really enthusiastic apprentices.”

Asked about the two years Thurrock’s has languished in the bottom three for the percentage of primary schools rated “good” or better by Ofsted, Mr Cameron said: “There are some big improvements coming to south Essex, with free schools and academies coming in and turning around schools.”

APPRENTICE Tommy Judd, 20, was one of those who met Mr Cameron during the visit.

Tommy, of Miller Road, Stifford Clays, is in the second year of a three-year metalwork apprenticeship with the Royal Opera House.

He saw it advertised in the Gazette and said the experience had opened new doors to him.

He added: “I knew I wanted to go into engineering, but I didn’t think it would be in opera. We’re regularly given tickets to see the shows we’ve built and it’s enjoyable as well as rewarding, realising you’ve made it work.”


THE Backstage rehearsal and training centre, sited on Purfleet’s High House Production Park has won an award for its contribution to the regeneration of Thurrock.

It has been given the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors’ regional award and was highly commended for benefiting the community