More than 30 pupils from across Bradford grilled manufacturers at a first-of-its-kind event during the district’s inaugural Bradford Manufacturing Week.
Pupils from Dixons Kings Academy, Bradford Forster Academy, Parkside School and Bradford Grammar School came face to face with representatives from refrigeration specialists Epta George Barker, metal heat treatment specialists Keighley Laboratories, Seabrook Crisps, international chemicals and detergents manufacturer Christeyns and manufacturing specialist recruiters, The Works Recruitment, at the Bradford Manufacturing LIVE event at Bradford College on Thursday.
Covering issues such as finding the best route into manufacturing, rates of pay and the future of manufacturing during the 40-minute question and answer session, dialogue was initiated from the teenagers in the room and through real-time posts on Twitter.
Nick Garthwaite, managing director of Christeyns UK, president of Bradford Chamber and creator of Bradford Manufacturing Week, said he was ’blown away’ by the enthusiasm, the interest and the engagement from the students.
“Bradford Manufacturing LIVE was a real high point in our event line up for the Week because it really got the pupils thinking, talking and asking the questions that were important to them,” he said.
“The students had really done their research, and many addressed the big issues in manufacturing such as employing women, attracting young people to the sector and whether apprenticeships are the right route to take. Utilising Twitter also meant we could engage with an even wider audience of young people on a platform they are familiar and comfortable with. Between social media and the interactions in the room, we answered around 20 questions put to us – we were euphoric by the end of the session and agreed, it’s certainly an event to be repeated during Bradford Manufacturing Week 2019.”
Matt Darlington, head of grocery multiples from Seabrook Crisps, agreed that the event was pivotal in introducing young people to the personalities behind Bradford’s manufacturing scene.
“This event was key because it got the students directly in front of manufacturing MDs, sales professionals, recruiters and apprentices – all with their own slant on the industry,” Matt explained.
“More importantly, it gave the students the chance to ask questions and gain a much clearer understanding on the sheer breadth of opportunities within the manufacturing sector and also gain an insight into the attributes required to enjoy a rewarding career. The manufacturing industry really does offer something for everyone, across so many professions, skill sets and career paths. Raising student awareness of this will ensure the future of the sector remains buoyant.”
Bradford Manufacturing Week is a West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce initiative delivered in conjunction with Bradford-based Aspire-igen and sponsored by Barclays Bank, Naylor Wintersgill, Mitton Group, Gordons LLP, the University of Bradford and Leeds Bradford Airport. From 8-12 October, the Week offered events, work placements, and company visits to inspire, engage and attract students aged 14-18 to the sector.
More than 40 manufacturers offered over 3,000 manufacturing experiences to over half of the district’s secondary schools. During the week, Prime Minister Theresa May backed the initiative, approving of the efforts to enable future generations to see the potential of a career in the manufacturing industry.
Bradford Manufacturing LIVE panellists were Debbie Mellor, managing director of Keighley Laboratories, Matt Darlington, head of grocery multiples at Seabrook Crisps, Craig Burton managing director of The Works Recruitment, Nick Garthwaite, managing director of Christeyns UK, Jordan Smith, Christeyns UK apprentice and Geoff Mills and Martin Peel from Epta George Barker. The event was organised and supported by The Works Recruitment and Approach PR.