07 April 2023

Factory visits delivering real-life insight into manufacturing careers

Hundreds of students from schools and colleges across the city are being given an exclusive ‘behind the scenes’ look at modern manufacturing careers in a series of visits to factories that are taking place as part of the Leeds Manufacturing Festival.

A group of year-nine Roundhay School students and their teachers visited MPM, which manufactures glass-reinforced plastics for the utilities, automotive and leisure sectors, in March, and described their experience as “absolutely brilliant.”

Anne Powley, careers lead at the school said: “Our students came back buzzing from the trip; they thought it was amazing. The factory workings and the engineering perspective were great and the students also heard about employability skills and workplace behaviours, which was really useful insight.”

She added: “The MPM visit was a great example of workplace experience and employer engagement, linking curriculum learning to the careers, as well as raising the profile of STEM and engineering.”

Beginning with an overview of the company, manufacturing processes, products and the sectors MPM supplies, the students were then given a factory tour followed by Q&A session with members of the MPM team.

MPM director Ben Wilson said: “It’s great to see how enthused many of the students are when they experience a real-life factory environment where products are actually being made. Seeing how the process happens and being able to talk to people in a variety of roles within our team really brought it to life for them.”

The MPM visit was followed by a session for students at Brandon Medical in south Leeds. The business designs and manufactures world-leading technology for operating theatres, critical care areas and primary care institutions.

A tour of the high-tech manufacturing facility was followed by opportunities to discover more about apprenticeship opportunities with the company. Ingrid Laws, Brandon Medical’s head of HR, said: “It was a really useful event and I think the young people who came along gained a real insight into the careers available via the apprenticeship route.

“As well as chatting to our CEO Keith Jackson, they also spent time with one of our first-year apprentices Ben Asare and one of Brandon Medical’s female product engineers who is passionate about helping young people, and particularly women, into manufacturing and engineering careers.”

Specialist print firm OPM Labels & Packaging, which took part for the first time in this year’s Leeds Apprenticeship Recruitment Fair, also has open days planned for May and June to meet potential apprentices and give them a tour of their Gelderd Road factory.

This month the Leeds Manufacturing Festival ‘manufacturing treks’ also kick off, giving students chances to visit manufacturing and engineering companies to see first-hand the products, processes and roles involved, meeting employers as well as current apprentices and other team members.

Leeds Welding Company, specialist engineering firm LBBC Technologies and MPM are among the firms taking part.

More information on factory visits and the full programme of Leeds Manufacturing Festival can be found here.


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Raising the profile of manufacturing in Leeds