Bradford’s manufacturers sign up to engage with pupils from 45 local schools

Bradford’s manufacturers sign up to engage with pupils from 45 local schools

More than 30 Bradford manufacturers have registered for this year’s Bradford Manufacturing Weeks initiative, with planning well underway to deliver online and in-person activities, to engage and inspire pupils to pursue a career in manufacturing.

So far there are 32 registered and active manufacturers, with eight who are joining for the first time, which include Yorkshire Dama Cheese, Tecnair Manufacturing, Bronte Precision Engineering and Ortho Europe.

Bradford Manufacturing Weeks which runs from the 4th to the 15th October, introduces students to a career in manufacturing through work placements, manufacturer tours, work experience and life skills events. Since 2018, the initiative has created more than 12,000 manufacturing experiences for Bradford pupils aged 14-18.

It’s the fourth year that E3 Recruitment (E3R) has sponsored the Bradford Manufacturing Weeks, which is led by West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce with other sponsors including Barclays, Naylor Wintersgill, LCF Law and Bradford Council.

Andrew Joseph, E3R Director commented: “Despite the continued constraints of Covid-19, this year’s Bradford Manufacturing Weeks is shaping up to be the best one yet with its hybrid approach – taking elements from last year’s online events and in-person activities. We are proud to be a sponsor of Bradford Manufacturing Weeks and also hosting the hugely successful Apprentices Live Q&A panels again.

“Being a manufacturing and engineering recruitment specialist, we are aware of the skills gap due to the aging workforce and therefore know how important it is to ensure there is a pipeline of young people entering the industry and filling futures roles.”

This year, a ‘task force’ of apprentices from across Bradford are taking part in events to ensure pupils experience a range of relatable and motivating experiences. Apprentices at Keighley chemical manufacturer and supplier Airedale Chemical, this week met with pupils from South Craven school to discuss the company’s proposed Bradford Manufacturing Weeks activities.

Marketing apprentice Madison Heigold, lean manufacturing apprentice Max Chadwick and HSE technician apprentice Lucy Sage chatted with students Ben Fanshaw, Shadi Hashem and Emma Lloyd and encouraged feedback to help the company’s final preparations.

Lucy, who this year becomes a fully qualified Health & Safety Technician, said: “We talked to the students about how we’re planning to give an insight into multiple manufacturing roles here at Airedale Chemical, from following a product’s journey from sourcing raw materials through to manufacturing, developing a marketing plan and creating a sales strategy.

“It was helpful to hear first-hand what they’d like to see and experience during our tours and great to see how enthusiastic they sounded about our plans.”

Year 13 student, Shadi Hashem (17), said they found the site busy and “buzzing”. He added: “We said we’d really like to see more of the site during Bradford Manufacturing Weeks and particularly the labs. We’re all keeping our career options open so it’ll be great to spend more time on a site which offers such a wide range of roles.”

Craig Thomson, Group CFO of the Airedale Group which employs around 100 people at its Cross Hills site near Keighley, explains: “We’ve been involved with Bradford Manufacturing Weeks since it began three years ago and have found it incredibly rewarding to see pupils’ interest in a manufacturing career once they understand more about what’s involved. We’re also making short videos, offering tours and taking part in ‘meet the apprentice’ and ‘meet the manufacturer’ Q&As to fully utilise our apprentices’ experience and insight.”

Additional preparations for the fortnight in October include a ‘Getting To Know You’ event for schools to meet their partnered manufacturers at The Opportunity Centre on Wednesday 22th September. 2021 events also include a cash-prize competition to create an innovative solution for waste recycling in schools, a police and fire and rescue service-led Driver Awareness Event at Valley Parade and Barclays Life Skills sessions covering CV writing and interview guidance.

Nick Garthwaite, Chair of the Bradford Manufacturing Weeks steering group and Director of Bradford-based international chemicals and detergents manufacturer Christeyns, said: “The disruption caused by Covid-19, means employers and schools are more determined than ever to help, and guide young people around career-making decisions. Opportunities for a career in all areas of manufacturing have never been better and as Bradford Chamber of Commerce, we want to continue leading the charge to showcase our manufacturing sector and the potential for a fulfilling career within it.”

He added: “Bradford’s current apprentices are an industrious group of young people and we are delighted they’re showing such enthusiasm for encouraging the next generation of apprentices. The school pupils of today are our employees of tomorrow and together we can support them in making informed career decisions through manufacturing insights and experience.”

For information on registering to take part in Bradford Manufacturing Weeks’ 2021 events from 4th-15th October please see the website

15th September 2021

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