An online careers panel, featuring employers and apprentices from Leeds manufacturing firms, has been downloaded by 17 schools across the city and seen by nearly 8,000 students since it was first broadcast in January.
Produced to highlight the diversity of manufacturing in Leeds and the range of career opportunities for young people working in the sector, the video gives students the chance to find out first-hand what it’s like to work in a modern manufacturing environment.
Chaired by Faron Convay, project co-ordinator at the Ahead Partnership, the careers panel sees digital marketing apprentice Cameron Mole from print company Northern Flags and Ben Newby, a former apprentice at engineering firm Mpac Lambert, talking about their experience and the advantages of apprenticeships compared to other forms of learning.
“You get to learn on the job but you’re earning while you’re learning,” explains Ben. “And you can get the exact same qualifications as if you went to university but you also get to experience what the working world is like.”
Cameron agrees: “Compared to going to college, you’re in a workplace with professionals who’ve done the job so you can constantly ask questions and get hands on, real world experience.”
Ben and Cameron are joined on the panel by managing directors Tracey Dawson of Daletech Electronics, Ben Wilson of glass reinforced manufacturing company MPM Ltd and recruitment consultant Gary Freeman of The Works, who field a range of questions from students at Mount St Mary’s High School.
“An apprenticeship is such a great vehicle to get you into the world of working but it also gives you a career,” says Tracey Dawson, who is also an organiser of the Leeds Manufacturing Festival, set up to promote careers in manufacturing to young people.
Ben Wilson, who runs MPM with his brother Dylan, says attitude and a willingness to learn are some of the key things they look for when employing someone: “One of the key things I look for in the first month is do you back up what you’ve said in your CV and what you’ve said in your interview because actions speak louder than words.
Gary Freeman talks about his own career path, which started as an apprentice CNC programmer working in manufacturing and has now come full circle, working for a recruitment consultant for The Works, helping to recruit people at all levels into manufacturing jobs.He describes the wide range of opportunities that careers in manufacturing present, including the chance to work your way up to senior levels and even run your own company. “The success stories I get to hear from employers and from the people actually doing the jobs is one of the things that keeps me motivated in my own job,” says Gary.