Hundreds of students from the Bradford district have been given access to some of the leading figures in manufacturing, all thanks to the Bradford Chamber of Commerce’s Bradford Manufacturing Weeks initiative.
Held between October 9 and October 20, young people were able to hear about the experiences, benefits and successes that a career in manufacturing can bring.
Now in its sixth year, Bradford Manufacturing Weeks has successfully connected dozens of the region’s leading manufacturers to new generations of talent, with more than 15,000 young people given experiences of what it is like to work in the sector.
This year’s event saw sessions held on everything from apprenticeships to skills to degree-level training. Most importantly, the sessions allowed students to hear first-hand accounts from those working in the sector and learn more about the industry.
One of the highlights was an event exclusively dedicated to the futures of women in manufacturing, held at Bronte Girls Academy in Bradford.
At the event, Dr Elaine Brown, from the University of Bradford’s Faculty of Engineering, told the audience about how when she was at school, girls were not allowed to study metalwork, woodwork or technical drawing.
“Girls were not expected to go into that sort of thing,” she said.
“I really felt disempowered, but I still made sure I did maths and science before taking a course in engineering. The thing I love about engineering and manufacturing is that it is all about helping people. The things we make are making a difference to people’s lives. It helps us to live safely, cleanly and improves our health. That is the heart of engineering.”
The event also heard from two women who had entered the sector more recently.
Ayesha Nawaz, a recent graduate from the University of Bradford and now employed by Solenis, said: “I have been lucky enough to travel all around the UK with work and have even been abroad. The main thing I love about the job is knowing that women can complete the job.
“I really enjoy what I do.”
Ms Nawaz’s remarks drew cheers from the students in attendance.
Alisha Nadeem, University of Bradford Biomedical Engineering Student, said: “When I was in secondary school and sixth form a lot of people told me I could not do engineering, that I was not made for it.
“Fortunately, I do not like being told what to do. So, I did the opposite and went into it to prove ot people that I could do it. I am so interested in my field. I have a lot of freedom.”
Charlotte Meek, of Stich Society, advised those in attendance to not fear change but rather to embrace it.
“Some of the most rewarding things I have done are those I have done when I have been outside of my comfort zone.”
Rita Collins, regional director for Yorkshire and the North-East at sponsors NatWest, said: “If they had had this kind of event when I was at school this would have been so inspiring for me.
“This will be an inspiration to these young leaders for Bradford and beyond.”
To view the Women in Manufacturing event in full visit Women In Manufacturing Panel – YouTube