THE Prince of Wales visited a Herefordshire technology company to congratulate it on its global success.

He called in to ETL Systems at Madley, near Hereford, before going on to Ross-on-Wye, and his visit included a tour of the factory, meeting staff and unveiling a commemorative plaque.

It was a recognition of the firm's contribution to the local community, which included boosting the local economy, providing local jobs, and training and developing its highly skilled staff.

ETL is a founder sponsor of the future engineering university in Hereford, NMiTE (New Model in Technology and Engineering), where it hopes to source graduate engineering talent in the future. 

In a speec to ETL staff Prince Charles said: “What you all do is remarkable, and is of enormous importance to Herefordshire and to the country.

"It is wonderful to see such skilled engineering being applied in this particular field.

"Clearly, you are producing very high quality, high standard equipment which is used to great effect by customers in over 180 countries.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I hope you go from strength to strength.”

He added: "With the arrival of the new engineering university in Herefordshire it will make an even bigger difference to what you are able to do.

"There is a big black hole in engineering skills to be filled, and NMiTE seems to be an extremely good way to fill those gaps.”

Ian Hilditch, chief executive officer of ETL Systems, said: “It was a great honour to have HRH visit our facilities.

"Hopefully, we were able to show a glimpse of some technology being produced in amongst the apple orchards of Herefordshire, which is a bit different than what is usually seen around here!

"We are extremely proud of our heritage as a rural company achieving global success.

"We have aggressive growth plans over the coming years, and we hope that will further help the local economy.

"This opportunity for the staff to meet HRH has been a great way to recognise their hard work and success with ETL.”

The firm designs and builds high performance satellite communications and radio frequency (RF) equipment, which is generally used in satellite ground stations.

Customers include governments, satellite operators, telecoms companies, and broadcasters across the globe.

Eight of the top 12 NATO governments use ETL products to protect their citizens and 14 of the top 20 global satellite operators also use ETL equipment.

With its dedicated in-house engineers based in Madley, ETL Systems has seen an average growth of 20 per cent in the last five years and has won three Queens Awards for International Trade as well as being named the 2018 Exporter of the Year in the Herefordshire Chamber of Commerce Awards.