The visit is part of a ‘See Inside Manufacturing’ initiative designed to offer young people the chance to see inside UK manufacturing and increase the amount of people entering the industry.
Huhne said: "Together with industry experts like Ford, we must inspire more young people to see manufacturing and engineering as a viable and exciting career choice.”
The Ford plant in Southampton has built the Ford Transit van for over 40 years and along with engine and research plants in Bridgend and Dagenham, is one of the major bases for the brand in the UK.
Thomas Fischer, Southampton plant manager, said: "This is business as usual for Ford Southampton as we are already heavily involved with local community projects, inviting students to experience our modern technology and manufacturing techniques that helps ensure Ford’s market leading presence in the UK.”
The Southampton plant’s expertise is evident in the success of the Ford Transit van. The van has been the best-seller since its launch in the UK and currently comes in several hundred different variations including different lengths, heights, body styles and engine choices.
A new 2012 Ford Transit van is due to be released next year, extending the longevity of the world’s most popular van even further.
Available from £12,245, the current range of Ford Transit van comes in short, medium, long and ‘jumbo’ wheelbases and includes new Ford technology such as Bluetooth with voice control (as an optional extra) and optional air conditioning.
Built in Southampton, the Ford Transit van is the largest in the Ford range, but a smaller Ford Transit Connect and Ford Fiesta Van are also available in the Ford van range.