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Manufacturing careers initiative has positive impact on local pupils

Bradford Manufacturing Weeks' Women in Manufacturing panel join Bradford Girls’ Grammar School pupils Ameera Smith (left), Sanah Nisa (centre) and Ishaal Khan (right).

New figures in from Bradford Manufacturing Weeks 2021 show that in four years, the initiative has cumulatively brought more than 15,000 manufacturing experiences to the district’s students.

A report analysing the success of the October 2021 West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce-led careers initiative, shows 100% of participating schools felt their pupils benefited from being involved.

Compiled by Bradford-based school and career specialists The Opportunity Centre, which co-ordinated the fortnight of school and manufacturer activities, the report shows that in just 10 days, almost 3,000 local young people aged 14 to 18 had some form of manufacturing experience as Bradford manufacturers brought the sector to life through in-person tours, online ‘meet the manufacturer’ and ‘meet the apprentice’ sessions and Barclays Life Skills workshops.

Since its launch in 2018, Bradford Manufacturing Weeks, which is sponsored by Barclays, E3 Recruitment, Naylor Wintersgill, LCF Law and Bradford Council, has delivered a series of impactful experiences including a Women in Manufacturing panel event at Bradford Girls’ Grammar School and Driver Awareness events with West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue and West Yorkshire Police.

Bradford Girls’ Grammar School year 10 student Sanah Nisa (pictured), who this year joined 100 members of her year group to hear from female manufacturing leaders from Gesipa, Canvasman, Solenis, Keighley Laboratories, Produmax, Mansfield Pollard and Christeyns UK, said: “It was fascinating listening to the women on the manufacturing panel at school – they were so honest about their experiences and gave us great guidance and advice. It was a surprise to hear about the different opportunities there are in manufacturing – it certainly isn’t like I imagined and has made me want to find out more about the career options there are.”

Further 2021 success stories include student Holly Emmott from South Craven School who met former pupil and now apprentice design engineer Kyle Elliot, during a site visit to Skipton manufacturer Guyson International.

Kyle joined Guyson after listening to a presentation from the company’s managing director Mark Viner during Bradford Manufacturing Weeks in 2018 and went on to take part in Guyson-hosted mock interviews in 2019, joining the team officially as an apprentice later that year.

Mark said: “Kyle is a brilliant example of just what a difference Bradford Manufacturing Weeks is making to young lives. The initiative introduced him to Guyson and now, three years on, he is an apprentice with us and now represents the company when speaking with school pupils who visit us during Bradford Manufacturing Weeks. The more young people understand our sector and the careers on offer, the more informed decisions they can make about their own careers and the better our all-important talent pipeline will be.”

Nick Garthwaite, Chair of the Bradford Manufacturing Weeks steering group and Director of Bradford chemicals and detergents manufacturer Christeyns, said: “Our range of activities in 2021 has meant that once again, we were able to produce another educational, inspirational and invaluable two-week careers event. The true legacy is the ongoing relationships between manufacturers and schools, meaning the benefits of Bradford Manufacturing Weeks continue throughout the school year.”

Lee Collinson, Head of Manufacturing, Transport and Logistics at Barclays added: “We’re delighted to once again have been the primary sponsor of Bradford Manufacturing weeks for 2021. Young people and apprentices will be essential to the manufacturing sector as it seeks come back fighting from the pandemic. It has been fantastic to see such large numbers of businesses and schools involved.”