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‘High impact’ initiative launched to encourage young people into manufacturing

20 April 2018

A new initiative to educate young people about career opportunities in the manufacturing sector has recently been launched in Bradford.

The district is leading the way with the first Bradford Manufacturing Week (8-12 October) and is calling for other regions to follow suit. 

The event, which aims to introduce manufacturers to young people and boost apprenticeship numbers by creating more inspired, informed and ‘work ready’ applicants into the sector, is being led by West & North Yorkshire Chamber. 

The brainchild of Nick Garthwaite, MD of international chemicals and detergents manufacturer Christeyns, the week aims to engage with around 75 local schools, reach more than 20,000 teenage students and create 1,000 work experience days across the district. 

With support from major manufacturers including BASF and backed with headline sponsorship from Barclays, the launch marks the start of six months of school and manufacturer engagement before the week of events, tours, work placements, company visits and seminars begin in October.

Nick, who is also president of Bradford Chamber believes the initiative, alongside the Chamber’s October Leeds Manufacturing Festival, will inspire other cities across the UK to host their own manufacturing weeks, said: “The Chamber is leading this initiative because we want young people to see for themselves the exciting and progressive career opportunities it presents. 

“We want to encourage manufacturers to consider apprenticeships to future proof their workforce and for young people to consider apprenticeships as an alternative route to a skilled and rewarding career. By improving communication between schools and manufacturers and showing just what an innovative industry this is, we believe we can attract the right talent and create a strong, skilled core base for our growing manufacturing sector.”

With manufacturing achieving £364.7 billion in product sales in 2016, which is around 23% of the UK’s GDP, it is a major sector of British industry employing 7.4 million people . Around 15% of Bradford’s output comes from manufacturing accounting for £1.5 billion  of the GVA. 

Debbie Mullen, head of manufacturing in Yorkshire 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 looking forward to helping this ambitious initiative bring the best of the region’s manufacturers together with schools and colleges to inspire young people to consider a future in manufacturing.”

Bradford is an economy built on manufacturing with 1,200 businesses employing 23,000 people – the fourth highest of any city district in the UK . 

Nick added: “To make Bradford Manufacturing Week a success we need all manufacturers to open their doors and help us inspire and excite young people by showcasing their products, innovation, technology and to demonstrate just how much they contribute to the local and national economy. We want smaller and larger manufacturers to back this initiative and we’ll make sure anyone who gets involved is given full support in hosting work placements, tours and events.

“Despite Bradford being the youngest city in the UK with a growing population of school leavers, our apprenticeships are low. From August 2016 to January 2018 just 1,510 were undertaken across the manufacturing and engineering sector in Bradford  and there are just 80 manufacturing apprenticeships we know of that are currently being officially advertised.”

Bradford Manufacturing Week is being delivered with Bradford-based school and career specialists Aspire igen with additional sponsorship from Gordons, Naylor Wintersgill, the Bradford Economic Partnership, Mitton Mechanical and the University of Bradford, alongside a steering group including Bradford Grammar School, Bradford Council and local businesses. 

For more information about sponsorship or getting involved, visit the Bradford Manufacturing Week website or email or call 01274 206653. For regular updates and news follow @Bradfordmfg on Twitter.

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