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Apprenticeships in the spotlight for Leeds students as manufacturers join forces

Apprentices and their employers from across Leeds are taking part in a virtual careers panel event this week, as part of Leeds #Manufacturing Festival. The event will showcase to an audience of young people the wide range of apprenticeships available in the city’s manufacturing industry, which employs almost 30,000 people across more than 1,600 businesses in Leeds. Students from the city’s Mount St Mary’s High School will take part in the live event on 28 January, with a free recording available for schools and colleges to use in National Apprenticeship Week, from 8-14 February.

The line-up of firms taking part in the event all run highly successful apprenticeship programmes. They include banner and flag manufacturer Northern Flags, along with Mpac Lambert, a Tadcaster-based firm that specialises in high-tech automation for the healthcare and medical sector. Daletech Electronics managing director Tracey Dawson, who chairs Leeds Manufacturing Alliance which organises the manufacturing festival, is also taking part, along with glass-reinforced plastics business MPM and The Works Recruitment.

Tracey Dawson said: “Apprenticeships are fast becoming the best route into satisfying, well-paid jobs and in the manufacturing sector here in Leeds the apprenticeship model is tried and tested, and hugely popular among both employers and young people who are ambitious for rewarding careers. The sector now pays well above the national average rate, with manufacturing wages currently an average of 13% higher than in other sectors.”

Cameron Mole, a digital marketing apprentice at Northern Flags who will be on the panel, said: “The event will enable students to ask questions about apprenticeships, career journeys and pathways and the wide range of skills that manufacturers are looking for. With both current apprentices, and those who have progressed further in their careers on the panel, this is a great opportunity for students to get authentic first-hand advice on the careers on offer and what working life as an apprentice is really like.”

Faron Convey, project coordinator at Ahead Partnership, which is organising the event, said: “Promoting the manufacturing industry to young people as an exciting and innovative career option doesn’t need to stop because of lockdown. The employers taking part in Leeds Manufacturing Festival have been positive, enthusiastic and flexible so that we can host this careers panel in a way that means young people from all over Leeds can access it, whether they’re learning from school or from home.”

Now in its third year, Leeds Manufacturing Festival is organised by the Leeds Manufacturing Alliance and Leeds Chamber and supported by Leeds City Council and the Leeds City Region LEP. Accountant RSM, Leeds City College and The Works Recruitment are all sponsors of the festival.

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