From education to employment

Bradford Manufacturing Weeks 2020 helps schools “make up for lost time”

Organisers of Bradford’s annual manufacturing initiative are delighted by the response from schools wanting to “make up for lost time” and involve more pupils in this year’s online careers programme.

Thirty five secondary schools – including 11 new schools – and 21 manufacturers have already registered for Bradford Manufacturing Weeks 2020 which is substituting face to face events with online manufacturer tours, live employer Qs and As, Zoom apprentice panels and virtual life skills workshops from 5–16 October 2020.

Led by West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, Bradford Manufacturing Weeks introduces students to a career in manufacturing through work placements, manufacturer tours, work experience and life skills events.

Delivered in partnership with Bradford-based school and career specialists Aspire-igen and  with continued sponsorship and support from Barclays, E3 Recruitment, Naylor Wintersgill, Gordons LLP and Bradford Council, Bradford Manufacturing Weeks also aims to create more inspired, informed and ‘work ready’ applicants into the sector by giving pupils the chance to prepare for the workplace.

Pupils across all age groups from Bradford’s Beckfoot Upper Heaton school, part of the Beckfoot Trust, are joining the Bradford Manufacturing Weeks online events after Assistant Head for Personal Development, Louise Morgan, said the school wants students to have as many career experiences as possible – particularly after six months of home learning.

“We want to introduce as many experiences as we can for our students who have been at home for almost six months. Any introductions to the workplace are invaluable but of course, so much harder under the current Covid-19 restrictions,” said Louise, who is also a Teaching Ambassador for Bradford Teaching.

 “We are delighted that the organisers are continuing with the event and our first experience of it could not come at a more significant moment.  So many students have missed out on opportunities this year and now we really want to make up for lost time. Our young people will discover how exciting a career in manufacturing could be and it will help to give them a career to focus on through their school life – we can’t wait for it to get started and our students are raring to go,” she added.

For 2020, Bradford Manufacturing Weeks, which has created more than 8,000 student manufacturer experiences since its launch in 2018, is preparing five online events per day from 5 October including virtual tours of local manufacturing facilities, Zoom “Meet the Manufacturer” sessions, Zoom Apprentices Live and Manufacturers Live Q&A sessions where student questions are answered and online problem solving Barclays Life Skills sessions including advice on preparing for work in a virtual jobs market.

Nick Garthwaite, Chair of West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce and Managing Director of Bradford-based international chemicals and detergents manufacturer Christeyns, said the Chamber and sponsors are delighted that schools and manufacturers are just as invested in the 2020 virtual event as the fae to face events of previous years.

“The challenges of 2020 have shown that now, more than ever, our district’s young people need all the support we can give them in terms of understanding the opportunities for employment right here on their doorstep as well as our help in getting them emotionally and practically ready for work.

“For Bradford Manufacturing Weeks online, our sponsors and partners are working hard to produce accessible, engaging and informative events that every secondary school can get involved in. Our virtual events may even attract more schools and manufacturers simply because we won’t be challenged by the usual logistics of travel and resources.”

Nick added: “There is much talk about the impact of Covid-19 on the manufacturing sector but Bradford has ridden many an economic storm because of the resilience of its businesses and its people. The school pupils of today are our employees of tomorrow and it is our duty to support them through information, education and a dedication to helping them make the right career choices – choices which ultimately, will ensure our sector is robust and has longevity through a pipeline of local talent.”

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