Education secretary Gavin Williamson backs “excellent” Bradford Manufacturing Weeks initiative

Secretary of State for Education Gavin Williamson CBE has praised Bradford Manufacturing Weeks as an “excellent” initiative.

Commenting as organisers confirm that more than double the number of manufacturers and schools are involved since the inaugural event in 2018, Mr Williamson said:

“Following on from last year’s success, I know Bradford Manufacturing Weeks can go from strength to strength, with more businesses and young people involved.

“In my speech to Conservative conference earlier this month, I said how apprenticeships and technical and vocational education are just as important and as valuable as going to university and are just as important to our economy. They can make sure Britain succeeds in the future.

“And it is excellent projects like this that can show young people some of the exciting and valuable opportunities there and give them the belief that with the right help and support they can achieve anything they want.”

Bradford Manufacturing Weeks is a West and North Yorkshire Chamber initiative, delivered by Bradford Chamber of Commerce. In the second week of its second year, the project is now on track for creating 6,000 work experiences with 65 manufacturers involved, which is double the number of 2018. Forty five secondary schools are also participating in this year’s scheme.

Local employers including Solenis, Acorn Stairlifts, Produmax, Keighley Laboratories and Melrose Interiors are facilitating work placements, school talks and site tours for 14-18-year-old school pupils. Backed by the Bradford Economic Partnership, the initiative is introducing the district’s manufacturers to young people to help boost apprenticeship numbers by creating more inspired, informed and ‘work ready’ applicants into the sector.

The calendar of school and manufacturer events which includes the district’s very first ‘Bradford Apprentices Live’ event and a ‘Driver Awareness Day’ in partnership with West Yorkshire Fire Service and West Yorkshire Police to encourage safe driving among young apprentices, is sponsored by Barclays, Naylor Wintersgill, Gordons LLP, Mitton Group, Dale Carnegie UK, E3 Recruitment, the University of Bradford and Leeds Bradford Airport.

Initiative founder and managing director of Bradford-based laundry detergent manufacturer Christeyns, Nick Garthwaite, said: “It’s fantastic to receive support from the Government which further demonstrates that we are on absolutely the right track with our Bradford Manufacturing Weeks initiative. We have created a model that is working and most importantly, a model which gives young people an insight into the wonderful world of manufacturing and in many cases, it is proving a game changer in their career decision making process.”

Nick added: “That said, businesses, education providers and the Government have a lot more work to do to promote the apprenticeship programmes to make them become an even more attractive option. This is why Bradford Manufacturing Weeks is such an important part of our district’s business calendar and why we intend to grow the participants, the experiences and the momentum in years to come.”

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