07 July 2023

Festival reaches record numbers and more employers involved than ever before

Students from Leeds City Academy have been given the chance this week to see for themselves the wide-ranging opportunities that careers in manufacturing offer by taking part in a series of sector experience and employability days organised by their school’s careers manager Helen Ward.

Composites manufacturer MPM Ltd, textile firm AW Hainsworth and engineering firm Schneider Electric hosted the visits, which saw Year 10 students taken on factory tours, meet and ask questions of employees from across the three businesses.

“The sector experience and employability days are a great opportunity for our students to meet people working in modern manufacturing, understand what these companies do and the variety of roles and careers that are available in manufacturing,” Helen said.

Students (pictured left) were also taken on tours of the motor vehicle workshop and engineering facilities at Leeds City College. Head of the college’s school of engineering Mitch Scott said: “We’ve seen, from taking our own students out on the road and visiting manufacturing companies across Leeds, how it opens their eyes and encourages them to start thinking about their future careers.”

“It makes the world of work real for them and enables them to relate their studies directly to their experience.”

The sector experience and employability days bring the 2023 Leeds Manufacturing Festival to a close. Launched in February, this year’s festival has reached record numbers of young people and has involved more employers than ever before, including some of the biggest manufacturing firms in the city.

Global manufacturer Schneider Electric employs over 500 people at its factory in Hunslet, with 45 countries represented amongst its Leeds team. Students met employees from all levels of the business, including graduate trainees and members of the senior management team.

They were taken on a tour of the factory and its Innovation Hub, learning about Schneider Electric as a global company, products manufactured in Leeds and the processes involved.  Clement Grunwald, ETO Engineering Manager at Schneider Electric Leeds said: “It’s wonderful to see young talent so enthused by engineering, and promises a bright future for the electrical industry.”

The students also visited AW Hainsworth’s historic textile mill in Stanningley and had the chance to ‘speed date’ with team members from different areas of the business.

Students from Temple Moor High School, Dixons Trinity Chapeltown, Roundhay School, UTC Leeds and Leeds City College have also taken part in the festival events programme, while thousands more had the opportunity to meet manufacturing employers at the biggest ever Leeds Apprenticeship Recruitment Fair, which took place at the First Direct Arena during National Apprenticeship Week.

The profile of the festival has been boosted massively by coverage in the regional news media, in social media and by the ‘Manufacturing Futures’ virtual summit organised by sponsor E3 Recruitment.

Matt Booth, associate director of the specialist manufacturing recruitment agency, said: “The profile achieved by this year’s festival has been incredible and E3 Recruitment is immensely proud to work with employers and other partners who recognise the challenges we face around skills and recruitment but are prepared to work together for the long-term benefit of the sector.”

Ben Wilson, chair of Leeds Manufacturing Alliance, which organises the festival, said: “We were delighted that Greg Wright, business editor at the Yorkshire Post, agreed to compere our awards presentation evening again this year. He has been a huge supporter and has backed our campaign to promote the sector to young people.”

“We were particularly delighted to build on the success of the awards, which were launched last year to recognise the talents and achievements of the next generation.”

“We received a record number of entries from more employers than ever before and the standard of entries was incredibly high, testament to the talents of young people working in our sector and the investment in training and development being made by manufacturing employers.”

Attention now turns to National Manufacturing Day on Thursday 28th September, when Leeds Manufacturing Alliance will join forces with manufacturing employers across the UK to showcase the range of highly skilled and well-paid jobs the sector has to offer.

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