Bradford business are urged to join in Manufacturing Weeks initiative

Manufacturing Weeks
Picture: Lorne Campbell / Guzelian

Manufacturers in Bradford are being urged to join in with the city’s Manufacturing Weeks to which 29 schools have already committed.

The initiative’s creator Nick Garthwaite, MD of chemicals and detergents manufacturer Christeyns and Chairman of Bradford Chamber, said it was now critical for local manufacturers to sign up to match interest from the schools and ensure there would be enough experiences for local students in manufacturing.

He 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.”

At an information event held at Bradford College last week, manufacturers met 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.

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 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 GESIPA 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.