More than 4,500 young people in the Bradford area were involved in manufacturing-related events during the district’s third Bradford Manufacturing Weeks initiative last month.
Organisers and participants of Bradford Manufacturing Weeks 2020 are heralding the initiative which blended online events with a practical, in-school challenge, as a “huge success” as final figures show 4,551 young people from 31 secondary schools across the district, took part.
Students aged between 13 and 18 joined 32 online, live sessions and almost 400 took part in the new-for-2020 sani-station competition to create a fun, practical hygiene station for use in schools or colleges.
After 15 manufacturers including Ex-pressed Steel Panels, Solenis, Kemira Chemicals, Produmax and Thorite providing virtual tours, participated in Zoom “Meet the Manufacturer” sessions and provided apprentices for live Q&A sessions to answer student questions, teachers were unanimous in praising the impact of the two weeks of events.
Led by West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, Bradford Manufacturing Weeks introduces students to a career in manufacturing through work placements, manufacturer tours, work experience and life skills events.
Delivered in partnership with Bradford-based school and career specialists Aspire-igen and with continued sponsorship and support from Barclays, E3 Recruitment, Naylor Wintersgill, Gordons LLP and Bradford Council, Bradford Manufacturing Weeks also aims to create more inspired, informed and ‘work ready’ applicants into the sector by giving pupils the chance to prepare for the workplace.
In an evaluation report published this week, it was confirmed that of the schools who completed the Aspire-igen evaluation survey following the initiative, 100% said their students benefitted from taking part.
Oastlers School in Bradford joined Bradford Manufacturing Weeks events for the third consecutive year with its year 10 students taking first prize – and winnings of £500 for the school – for their creation of a sani-station prototype from existing school resources.
Jack Robinson, Year 10 participant in the challenge, said: “I really enjoyed working on the sani-station project with my friends and it was fun going up against other schools. The part I enjoyed the most was coming up with ideas – what it should look like, how to improve our first design, what it should do and what would help stop spreading the virus. We were pleased it would be a useful and effective product and were very excited that we won.”
Head Teacher Lyndsey Brown added: “Bradford Manufacturing Weeks this year has been very different to previous years, due to the extraordinary way we have had to adapt due to COVID-19. What hasn’t changed, however, is the professional way the BMW team have adapted to deliver on their promises. The virtual engagement with employers now allows our learners to dip in and out of these invaluable resources for the entire school year.”
Nick Garthwaite, Bradford Manufacturing Weeks founder, West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce chair and managing director of Christeyns laundry detergent manufacturer, said this year’s event was a resounding success because of the numbers involved but also due to the unique experiences delivered.
“Feedback from the schools has been absolutely superb with all involved wanting to take part again next year and many stating the experiences have literally changed the perspectives and opened the minds of their pupils, which is exactly what we set out to do.”
Lee Collinson, Managing Director and Head of Barclays Manufacturing, Transport & Logistics sector said: “Bradford Manufacturing Weeks truly evolved this year to become an interactive, inclusive, online event while still keeping a practical element for students in school. The initiative is all about working with manufacturers to inspire, inform and engage with pupils to help them become career ready and informed and we are delighted that based on teacher feedback, that’s exactly what 2020 has done.”