STEETON-based Acorn Stairlifts has been helping inspire young people to take up careers in modern manufacturing through its help in launching Bradford Manufacturing Weeks 2020.

Running from October 5 to 16 and organised by Bradford Chamber of Commerce, the annual initiative, this time being presented online, brings together manufacturers, schools and young people through activities which usually include factory tours, work experience, seminars, exhibitions and learning events at participating manufacturers’ premises. More than 40 manufacturer events have been spread across the 10 days.

A virtual launch event featured an exclusive look behind the scenes at Acorn Stairlifts’ factory at Steeton, thanks to a video created in-house by the company’s manufacturing manager, Andrew Longthorne. He also introduced online attendees to key members of the 350-strong workforce at Steeton, who help produce around 70,000 stairlift each year.

Two thirds of these are for the global market.

Acorn Stairlifts was founded in Bradford in 1992 and although sustained growth meant a move out of the city itself, the business remains firmly rooted in the Bradford Metropolitan District. It has manufacturing plants at Shipley and Steeton, building straight and curved stairlift rails, while its UK head offices are also located on Steeton’s Millennium Business Park, adjoining the factory.

Less than 30 years since its foundation, Acorn is now a global business – the world’s biggest dedicated solely to the manufacture, sale, installation and maintenance of home stairlifts. It has operations throughout Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada and North America, where Acorn is the established brand leader, but all its stairlifts are manufactured in Britain.

“That’s why we’re so passionate about manufacturing,” said Andrew Longthorne, “and keen to be involved with Bradford Manufacturing Weeks and other events which promote British manufacturing and inspire the next generation of engineering talent.”

Andrew’s video features some of the manufacturing processes at Acorn’s Steeton factory, which produces the company’s patented FastTrack® curved stairlift rails. This system of interlocking rail sections, assembled on-site in a customer’s home, has slashed the waiting time for curved stairlift installations. It is just one of the industry-leading innovations which have made Acorn a world-leader in home stairlifts and a global flag bearer for British manufacturing.