For decades it was the biggest wool producing city in the world and has enjoyed a proud industrial heritage stretching into the modern era.
Now, an initiative to help the young people of Bradford have the opportunity to pursue a career in manufacturing is set to ensure that legacy is preserved and enhanced.
Bradford Manufacturing Week is set to return this year after a successful launch in 2018, and its organisers want to double the amount of young people it reaches.
After creating 3,000 manufacturing work experiences during one week for young people in the district, the event has announced it is extending to a two-week initiative from October 7-18.
Bradford Manufacturing Week also wants to double involvement from the 44 manufacturers who took part last year and reach three quarters of the district’s 49 secondary schools.
The scheme is the brainchild of Nick Garthwaite, president of Bradford Chamber, chairman of the Bradford and Airedale Manufacturing Alliance (BAMA) and managing director of international chemicals and detergents manufacturer, Christeyns.
This year the initiative will include events to support the district’s current apprentices alongside a new Apprentice Live panel offering pupils the chance to quiz local apprentices, Q&As with manufacturers and a series of ‘getting to know you events’ for schools to network with employers as well as the popular manufacturer tours, work placements, work experiences and careers workshops.
The project was launched at Bradford aerospace manufacturers Produmax and will now see six months of awareness raising.
Mr Garthwaite said: “Last year, one week in Bradford created 3,000 manufacturing experiences for local young people from work placements and factory tours to work experiences and Barclays Life Skills workshops.
“In 2019, by doubling our targets, we want to create 1,000 tours, 600 work experiences, 200 panel participants, deliver 4,000 in-school activities and involve at least 80 manufacturers and 40 local schools.
“These partnerships are the very best ways of getting young people to see for themselves the exciting and progressive career opportunities our district presents in the most diverse – often hidden from view – local businesses.”
Bradford Manufacturing Weeks 2019 already has support from some of Bradford’s major manufacturers including Carnaud Metalbox, Acorn Stairlifts and Solenis and is backed with further sponsorship from Gordons LLP, Naylor Wintersgill, Bradford University, E3 Recruitment and global training provider Dale Carnegie.
It will complement the Leeds Manufacturing Festival, an initiative co-ordinated by Leeds Chamber of Commerce and Leeds Manufacturing Alliance, which also aims to showcase career opportunities to young people.
Debbie Mullen, Barclays head of manufacturing in Yorkshire and Bradford Manufacturing Weeks lead sponsor, said: “It is clear that there is a mis-match between perceptions of manufacturing and the reality of what a career in manufacturing can provide.
“The skills most desired by young people include decision-making, complex problem solving and technical skills, but these match the skills that most manufacturers say employees gain from working in the industry and highlights the need for businesses to engage and inspire the younger generation.”
Mr Garthwaite added: “The build-up to Bradford Manufacturing Weeks 2019 has begun and our message to manufacturers and schools is simple – sign up and get involved!”
The Bradford district is home to 1,200 manufacturing businesses, employing 27,000 people, some 13 per cent of all employment.
Engineering is the district’s largest manufacturing sector, which also includes chemicals, food and drink and textiles.
A Bradford Manufacturing Weeks information event for manufacturers is being held on May 1 at the Dye House Gallery, Lister Building at Bradford College.
To register interest in the event or in Bradford Manufacturing Weeks 2019 please contact Liz Wood at Bradford Chamber on 01274 206653 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.