BRADFORD Manufacturing Weeks 2020 got off to a strong start earlier this week at a special virtual launch event.

More than 30 attendees from the business, manufacturing and political arenas heard how the initiative will inspire the district’s young people to pursue a career where their skills could help solve world problems.

Led by the West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, the Zoom event heard from manufacturers, education providers and pupils about the hopes and expectations from the initiative.

The virtual launch also featured a look behind the scenes at Acorn Stairlift’s Steeton headquarters and an introduction from factory manager Andrew Longthorne to its manufacturing team who help produce 60,000 stairlifts each year.

With an additional welcome from Bradford South MP Judith Cummins, an address from University of Bradford Vice-Chancellor Shirley Congdon and insights into the value of the week from teachers and pupils of Beckfoot Upper Heaton school, the one-hour event kicked off two weeks of online manufacturer experiences.

Prof Congdon said the continuation of Bradford Manufacturing Weeks will support Bradford’s post-Covid-19 economic recovery and reinforce the emphasis on innovation and skills as a key growth area for the wider Leeds City Region.

“Bradford is critical to the North’s recovery and while we all know manufacturing is important to our economic future, the significance around creating an army of value-led, problem solving future manufacturing ambassadors must not be under-estimated. Bradford Manufacturing Weeks uses local manufacturers to inspire goal-setting and empowerment around issues such as ethical manufacturing and will make our district fit for the future, ensuring the next generation can and will address world problems with Bradford-born solutions.”

With primary sponsorship from Barclays, support from career specialists Aspire-igen and funding from E3 Recruitment, Naylor Wintersgill, Gordons LLP and Bradford Council, Bradford Manufacturing Weeks has, since 2018, introduced students to a career in manufacturing through onsite and in-person employment experiences.

Due to Covid-19 the two-week initiative from October 5 to 16 is entirely online with more than 40 manufacturer events spread across ten days.

Nick Garthwaite, chairman of West and North Yorkshire Chamber of commerce and managing director of laundry detergent manufacturer Christeyns, added: “Manufacturers of products from textiles to automotive components have stepped up to this year’s digital initiative and are providing career insight, behind the scenes tours and advice and guidance to hundreds of young people across Bradford district.

“Because of Covid-19, there is much talk of agility, innovation and business continuation and we are proud and privileged to be part of a manufacturing business community which has adapted to continued working and is united wanting to ensure our young people are supported in their career journey.”

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