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Bradford Manufacturing Week announces line up of inspiring student events ahead of launch day

Manufacturers and schools are counting down to Bradford district’s first inspiration and awareness week which has created more than 3,000 manufacturing experiences for students at over 50% of the district’s secondary schools.

Bradford Manufacturing Week begins on 8 October with a launch event at Shipley canmaking machinery manufacturers CarnaudMetalBox Engineering where pupils from local schools will visit the facility with council and business leaders to kick start the week.

The launch will include a demonstration of the canmaking technology and a whistle stop tour of the 11,000 sq metre factory which showcases the company’s precision engineering facility that provides employment for more than 500 locally-based staff.

Bradford Manufacturing Week (8-12 October), led by West & North Yorkshire Chamber, sponsored by Barclays and backed by the newly-formed Bradford Economic Partnership, is introducing the district’s manufacturers to young people to help boost apprenticeship numbers by creating more inspired, informed and ‘work ready’ applicants into the sector.

The brainchild of Nick Garthwaite, president of Bradford Chamber and MD of international chemicals and detergents manufacturer Christeyns and facilitated by Bradford-based school and career specialists Aspire-igen, the week has succeeded in ‘matching’ over 50% of Bradford’s secondary schools with more than 40 local manufacturers to create 3,000 manufacturing experiences for 14-18 year old students during the week.

“We have spent the last six months actively engaging with schools and manufacturers through events, meetings, phone calls and correspondence to bring together businesses and schools and create meaningful experiences for the students,” Nick explained. “We have manufacturers who are visiting schools, groups of students visiting the manufacturers, work placements, work experiences, tours and Q&A events to maximise every opportunity for sharing information and inspiring young minds.”

Signed up Bradford manufacturers include BASF, Airedale Chemical, Whitakers Chocolate, TF Automation, Mansfield Pollard, GESIPA, Thorite, Morrisons, CarnaudMetalBox Engineering and Gordon Rhodes. Schools include Queensbury Academy, South Craven College, Bradford Girls Grammar School, Dixons Allerton, One in A Million and Buttershaw Business and Enterprise College.

Nick, who believes the Bradford initiative, alongside the Chamber’s October Leeds Manufacturing Festival on 10 October, will inspire other cities across the UK to host their own manufacturing weeks, continued: “The Chamber is leading two high impact manufacturing sector initiatives because we want young people to see for themselves the exciting and progressive career opportunities it presents.

“Bradford Manufacturing Week is just the start of improving communication between schools and manufacturers and by showing just what an innovative industry this is, we believe we can turn more young people on to manufacturing as a desired career choice.”

Alongside the school and manufacturer visits, additional events in the Bradford Manufacturing Week calendar include Bradford Manufacturing LIVE on 11 October at Bradford College where up to 100 students question a panel of manufacturing representatives including Keighley Laboratories, EPTA George Barker, Christeyns and Seabrook Crisps; a series of Barclays life skills programmes including building confidence, workplace behaviour and interview skills – delivered in schools – and a funding and support event for manufacturers on 16 October at Keighley College.

Site Manager, David Calder from Bradford-based BASF which is providing experiences for more than 230 children next week, said: “During Bradford Manufacturing Week we are hosting students through site tours, visits to the Kids’ Lab and work experience placements – this really is a concentrated period of activity which will make a real difference to all participants. It’s vital that as an industry we embrace this fantastic initiative which has been created to help secure the future of British manufacturing by giving young people the experiences, the knowledge and the interest to make informed decisions about pursuing a career in this sector and help to secure the talent pipeline for years to come.”

Bradford Manufacturing Week is being sponsored by Barclays, Gordons LLP, Naylor Wintersgill, Mitton Mechanical and the University of Bradford and supported by Welcome to Yorkshire, Leeds Bradford Airport, Bradford Council and Bradford Grammar School.

Debbie Mullen, head of Yorkshire larger business for Barclays, said: “Manufacturing is the backbone of the British economy and it is vital we help attract the next generation of talent to lead the industry forward. We are delighted that this ambitious initiative is bringing the best of the region’s manufacturers together with schools and colleges to inspire young people to consider a future in manufacturing.”

For regular updates on the launch event, follow @Bradfordmfg ‏on twitter.