AN East Lancashire training base has been given the royal seal of approval.

The Duke of York paid a visit to Training 2000, in Blackburn, during a whistlestop tour of East Lancashire.

He also visited Nelson and Colne College as part of the re-arranged trip to unveil a plaque commemorating the college’s STEM assured status, which recognises excellence in science, engineering, technology and maths.

Bosses at Training 2000 have now received a letter of thanks from the prince, who said how much he ‘very much appreciated the chance to meet so many apprentices and staff and greatly enjoyed the tour of the impressive facilities’.

A keen supporter and advocate of University Technical Colleges (UTCs), the Duke of York “greatly enjoyed the wide ranging discussion on the importance of promoting apprenticeships and technical education institutions”.

He also asked to be kept informed of progress with Visions Learning Trust UTC, due to open in August 2013 in Burnley, of which Train- ing 2000 is the lead sponsor.

After a tour of the state-of-the-art facilities last November, the prince was presented with an inscribed pitch mark repairer as a memento of his visit.

Steve Gray, chief executive at Training 2000, said: “We thank His Royal Highness for taking time out of his busy schedule to visit, and were thrilled that he could join us to celebrate the growing number of apprentices at Training 2000.

“Our facilities and the support that we, as a Group Training Association, provide to our learners and employers are the things that we are most proud of and to be praised by the Duke of York in his letter is wonderful.”