Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Leeds Manufacturing Festival launches next week

Next week sees the launch of the Leeds Manufacturing Festival with a programme of online events designed to connect young people at local schools and colleges with manufacturing businesses across the city.

At a live online launch event on Thursday (5 Nov), organisers will announce the schedule for this year’s festival, which will include virtual career panels, practice interview sessions, speed networking, and employment bootcamps, with many of Leeds’ 1,800 manufacturing firms taking part.

Keynote speakers at the event will be Sean Spencer, Managing Director of Herida Healthcare, which manufactures medical mattresses, and James Lyall, who heads custom print business Awesome Merchandise.

The challenges of recruitment and adapting the workplace to maintain productivity and ensure employee safety are key for both firms as they plan for growth beyond the COVID crisis.

“There really is a wealth of opportunity out there among Leeds’ dynamic and innovative manufacturers, despite the disruption caused by the pandemic,” said Festival chair and MD of Daletech Electronics, Tracey Dawson.

“So many firms are hungry for new talent right now and there is a tremendously diverse range of apprenticeships and other career paths on offer in a sector that also pays well above the national average rate, with manufacturing wages currently an average of 13% higher than in other sectors.”

She added: “The myth that manufacturing is somehow old fashioned or an unrealistic career option for young people still prevails, but in fact that couldn’t be further from the truth.

“It’s great that so many manufacturing employers are making connections with schools and colleges so that students can find out for themselves about the fantastic opportunities that there are in the business of making things.”

Megan Lipp, head of development at Ahead Partnership, the Leeds social enterprise which is delivering the Manufacturing Festival activities to employers and schools, said: “We’ve been working with our partner schools and businesses throughout lockdown to ensure employers can reach young people with the valuable knowledge and experience they have to share.

“It makes all the difference to young people as they make decisions about their future career paths and we’re really pleased to be supporting Leeds Manufacturing Festival and helping make sure young people in the city get up-to-date, accurate and inspiring information about this key growth sector and the opportunities it holds.”

Now in its third year, the festival is organised by the Leeds Manufacturing Alliance and Leeds Chamber and supported by Leeds City Council and the Leeds City Region LEP.

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