Leeds Manufacturing Festival looks to showcase careers in sector following launch at Printworks Campus

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Business leaders from around 50 manufacturers in Leeds have joined forces to launch an initiative aimed at showcasing the latest career opportunities available to young people across the sector.

The manufacturers came together at Leeds City College Printworks Campus on March 28 to launch this year’s Leeds Manufacturing Festival.

Leeds Manufacturing Festival organisers prepare for the launch of the seven-month event. Back row, from left: David Baggaley, Leeds City Council; Bill Jones, Leeds City College; Mike Rimmer, Brandon Medical; Guy Foster, Leeds Chamber of Commerce; Mitch Scott, Leeds City College; Cath Black, Sound Leisure; Ben Wilson MPM. Front: Graham Cooper, Agfa Graphics.

Leeds Manufacturing Festival organisers prepare for the launch of the seven-month event. Back row, from left: David Baggaley, Leeds City Council; Bill Jones, Leeds City College; Mike Rimmer, Brandon Medical; Guy Foster, Leeds Chamber of Commerce; Mitch Scott, Leeds City College; Cath Black, Sound Leisure; Ben Wilson MPM. Front: Graham Cooper, Agfa Graphics.

Leeds Manufacturing Festival, which is now in its second year, looks to strengthen ties between schools, colleges and businesses in the region.

It encourages factory tours for students as well as getting manufacturers to visit schools. The festival also aims to promote taster days and work experience initiatives.

All of the initiatives are set to involve around 10,000 young people across the city.

Graham Cooper, one of the festival’s organisers and director of high-tech printing products manufacturer Agfa Graphics in Leeds, said: “There’s a misconception among young people, which I think comes from their parents and to some extent their teachers, that manufacturing is no longer a viable career option in this country, that it’s a dying industry.

“In fact, it is thriving and nowhere more so than here in Leeds, where there are some incredibly high-tech and exciting businesses that simply not enough people know about.

“The Leeds Manufacturing Festival is all about opening up manufacturing workplaces to young people and highlighting the exciting careers and job opportunities that are available right here in Leeds, covering a huge variety of different roles.”

This year the festival will run for seven months, finishing in October. It is organised by the Leeds Manufacturing Alliance and Leeds Chamber of Commerce.

Ben Wilson, director of Leeds-based glass reinforced plastic moulds manufacturer MPM, is urging young people and their schools to take part in the festival.

He said: “As a career option, manufacturing offers the satisfaction of actually making an end product, and there is a great deal of creativity that goes into the process, as well as practical or scientific skills.”

To find out more about the festival visit: www.leedsmanufacturingfestival.co.uk.