More than 50 local students, businesses and dignitaries gathered in Bradford for a tour of a 38-acre manufacturing facility to kickstart a fortnight of events for Bradford Manufacturing Weeks 2019.
Attendees at water solutions and chemical manufacturer, Solenis, included 12 students from three schools – Dixons Allerton Academy, Parkside School and Appleton Academy - alongside MP Judith Cummins and Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership Chair, Roger Marsh, OBE.
Organisers believe Bradford Manufacturing Weeks is set to provide almost 6,000 manufacturing experiences to pupils of 45 Bradford secondary schools and colleges in the district. More than 65 local manufacturers will facilitate work placements, school talks and site tours for 14-18-year-old school pupils. The initiative, led by Bradford Chamber and backed by the Bradford Economic Partnership, is introducing the district’s manufacturers to young people to help boost apprenticeship numbers by creating more inspired, informed and ‘work ready’ applicants into the sector.
During the launch event, attendees heard about the initiative from founder, Nick Garthwaite, as well as hearing about the Leeds City Region’s support for the district and Bradford Manufacturing Weeks from Roger Marsh.
Addressing the attendees, Roger Marsh said that Bradford Manufacturing Weeks is a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate the might of manufacturing in the district. He said: “Bradford has a lot to be proud of – we must be positive about what we have to offer. Through engaging young people manufacturers are thinking not only of their employees of today, but also considering their employees of tomorrow.”
Experiencing the vast manufacturing site for themselves, Parkside School student, Albert Lawler said: “I didn’t know what to expect and I have really enjoyed exploring Solenis. This experience has changed my outlook on manufacturing massively in a positive way.”
Dave Calder, site manager at Solenis, said: “We were delighted to host the launch of Bradford Manufacturing Weeks 2019. Having been involved last year, we recognise the importance of showcasing the opportunities available within manufacturing. Over the next two weeks we are offering work experience opportunities and site tours to schools. It’s an amazing initiative that brings together our manufacturing community to help potential future employees realise that there is a vast range of careers available.”
The calendar of school and manufacturer events is a West & North Yorkshire chamber initiative and is sponsored by Barclays, Naylor Wintersgill, Gordons LLP, Mitton Group, Dale Carnegie UK, E3 Recruitment, the University of Bradford and Leeds Bradford Airport.
Of supporting the weeks, Judith Cummins MP said: “I am proud to continue to support this initiative. Bradford Manufacturing Weeks has gone from strength to strength; now involving over 40 Bradford secondary schools and providing over 4000 manufacturing experiences for students. I know how much hard work has gone into organising these two weeks, and I want to congratulate the businesses, schools and students involved.”
Nick Garthwaite, founder of Bradford Manufacturing Weeks and managing director of international chemicals and detergents manufacturer Christeyns said: “It was fantastic to kick start the weeks at one of Bradford’s many magnificent manufacturing sites. It is thanks to employers like Solenis that we are on target to hit 6,000 experiences for young people this year, which is more than double what we achieved last year.”
He added: “I can’t wait to hear about the experiences and outcomes of the next two weeks – I hope Bradford’s manufacturers are ready for an influx of apprenticeship applications!”