From education to employment

Bradford Manufacturing Weeks 2019 aims to create 6,000 #STEM work experience placements

More than half of Bradford district’s secondary schools have already signed up to Bradford Manufacturing Weeks 2019.

At an information event held at Bradford College last week, local manufacturers met with teachers, careers advisors and students to find out more about the benefits of getting involved from 7-18 October and to hear success stories from last year’s week-long initiative.

At the event it was announced that 29 of 45 secondary schools have signed up to work with local manufacturers during Bradford Manufacturing Weeks. Nick Garthwaite, Bradford Chamber president and managing director of international chemicals and detergents manufacturer Christeyns, who created the initiative last year, said it is now critical that local manufacturers sign up to match interest from the schools and ensure there are enough experiences for local students in manufacturing.

Nick said: “We’ve had a phenomenal response from schools and it is so encouraging to have the appetite to get pupils into local manufacturing environments. But for this initiative to work, we need to at least match the schools involved with willing manufacturers so we’re urging employers to register their interest so we at Bradford Chamber can get in touch and make these connections and experiences happen.”

Led by Bradford Chamber and delivered in partnership with Bradford-based school and career specialists Aspire-igen with primary sponsorship from Barclays, Bradford Manufacturing Weeks 2019 aims to create 6,000 work experiences for young people by doubling involvement from the 44 manufacturers who took part last year and reaching three quarters of the district’s 49 secondary schools.

Jo Sykes, assistant headteacher from Parkside School in Bradford, said last year’s event inspired many of the school’s students from as young as Year 7 (aged 11) and led to an ongoing partnership for their school with GESIPA, manufacturers of blind rivets and associated products.

Jo said: “Schools are being measured on how well they meet the Gatsby Benchmarks, a framework of guidelines that define the best careers provision in schools and colleges. Bradford Manufacturing Weeks will help us and other schools to meet of these benchmarks specifically Gatsby 5 ‘encounters with employers and employees’ and Gatsby 4 ‘linking curriculum to careers’.

“Not only does Bradford Manufacturing Weeks open student’s eyes into the world of manufacturing but it also opens the teachers’ eyes too. It helps us to relate to the world of business and manufacturing in the classroom and make our curriculum content more relevant and connected to the outside world.”

She added: “We want to take advantage of every opportunity that is presented to us as a school and make sure we get our students on the right path for them. Careers is an integral part of our Aspire2B programme and Bradford’s manufacturers can complement this by providing insights, experiences and information that helps shape the opinions and aspirations of our young people. Bradford Manufacturing Weeks is an exceptional initiative and we need as many local manufacturers as possible to get involved and get in front of our students.”

Support for Bradford Manufacturing Weeks 2019 has already been pledged from manufacturers including:

  • Solenis,
  • Express Steel Panels,
  • TF Automation,
  • Kemira Chemicals and

and is backed with further sponsorship from:

  • E3 Recruitment,
  • Mitton,
  • Gordons LLP,
  • Naylor Wintersgill,
  • Leeds and Bradford Airport,
  • global training provider Dale Carnegie and
  • the University of Bradford.

The initiative will complement the Leeds Manufacturing Festival, an initiative co-ordinated by Leeds Chamber of Commerce and Leeds Manufacturing Alliance which also aims to showcase career opportunities to young people.

Jonathan Watson (aged 19), a Level Three Ext Diploma Maintenance Engineering apprentice at Keighley-based GESIPA was involved in Bradford Manufacturing Week 2018 and showed pupils around the facility. Last week he joined colleagues and peers at the Bradford Manufacturing Weeks 2019 information event, bringing Industry 4.0 tools and rivets to showcase the company’s capabilities and specialisms before teachers and pupils.

He said: “When I was at school I didn’t get the chance to experience the world of work and had to make up my own mind what I wanted to do. It’s fantastic to be working for a company that is so involved in Bradford Manufacturing Weeks because now I can help this next generation of apprentices to sample the fantastic opportunities I’m having which I hope will inspire and encourage them to consider a career in manufacturing.”

Nick Garthwaite added: “This really has been a superb event where we’ve heard from manufacturers, teachers, pupils and apprentices who were all involved in last year’s Bradford Manufacturing Week initiative. The buy in for 2019 from schools is already exceeding all of our expectations so we must rally together as a manufacturing community and make sure our doors are wide open this October.

“The future of our young people really is in our hands and with the support of the incredible teams at Bradford Chamber and Bradford Manufacturing Week facilitators Aspire i-gen who are partnering schools with businesses and managing the red tape for us, we can bring schools and manufacturers together to continue to make a difference to our district’s young people and our own employee pipeline.”

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