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Manufacturing sector under the spotlight to help North Derbyshire firms recruit school leavers

Students from Brookfield Community School visiting United Cast Bar in Chesterfield

The importance of introducing young people to careers in the manufacturing sector has been highlighted by a North Derbyshire initiative which aims to help the sector attract and recruit school leavers.

The Made in Chesterfield campaign, which is co-ordinated by Destination Chesterfield and Derbyshire Education Business Partnership and sponsored by University of Derby, is designed to bring together businesses, schools and training providers to showcase the town’s manufacturing and engineering sector to future school leavers.

Now in its fifth year, the campaign has been aligned with the National Curriculum and will run throughout the year.

Since the campaign was established, more than 2,500 young people from schools have spent time in the area’s manufacturing and engineering businesses. The visits to businesses operating within the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) sector are organised by Derbyshire Education Business Partnership.

United Cast Bar is one of a number of companies from Chesterfield’s manufacturing and engineering sector which are opening their doors to students from across the Borough in an effort to raise awareness of job opportunities.

James Brand, Managing Director of United Cast Bar, commented on the importance of developing the workforce of the future: “With an eye on future workforce needs, regularly inviting schoolchildren to the foundry through the Made in Chesterfield initiative plays an important part in our recruitment.”

As part of the year-long programme of Made in Chesterfield events, eight year 12 students from Brookfield Community School visited Chesterfield-based United Cast Bar as part of the Made in Chesterfield campaign.

As part of the visit, Students were taken into the foundry to see first-hand the manufacturing processes involved in producing continuous cast iron bar.

Tim Fagan, Head of Technology and Enterprise at Brookfield Community School, who accompanied the students on the visit, said: “The visit to United Cast Bar was so useful for our students, as it allowed them to see proper industrial practice.”

Mr Fagan added: “The students who took part in the visit love doing technology at school and enjoy making things, but sometimes it’s hard for them to link that up to the opportunities out there in the world of work. I think the visits to companies within the manufacturing and engineering sector helps open their eyes as to where the skills they learn in education can lead.”

UCB’s James Brand added: “If we are to develop our young people and retain their talent in the UK, schools must start bringing manufacturing and engineering careers to their attention. To look forward we must look back; getting young people interested in the sector is a great first step.”

Alongside the educational activity there is a programme of business events including a manufacturing conference, manufacturing and engineering forum, business masterclasses and networking events taking place throughout the year.

In addition to Destination Chesterfield, Derbyshire Education Business Partnership and University of Derby, Made in Chesterfield is supported by MSE Hiller, United Cast Bar Ltd, NatWest and Placing Futures.