Some of Leeds’ top manufacturers have joined forces to celebrate the very best of their industry and mark the start of the month-long Leeds Manufacturing Festival.
Brandon Medical, Daletech, Hopkins Catering, MPM and Sound Leisure have come together to showcase the role manufacturing plays in the local economy, raise awareness of the wide range of manufacturing companies in Leeds and help manufacturers attract the next generation of young people into the industry.
Leeds is the third largest manufacturing centre in the country by local authority area with around 1,800 SME manufacturers and the Festival, organised by Leeds Manufacturing Alliance, will provide a series of events opening the doors of many of these companies to young people and local communities.
Victoria Hopkins from Hopkins Catering in Pudsey, who is one of the key people behind the initiative, said: “Leeds Manufacturing Festivalwill allow anyone interested in manufacturing to see for themselves what it is like day to day working in the sector and find out more about the exciting career opportunities that exist in manufacturing in Leeds with businesses of all sizes taking part.
“We have a really diverse skill set in Leeds and there is such a vibrancy in the sector with many hidden treasures that we aren’t shouting about loudly enough. We have some amazing businesses doing really exciting things with a range of roles from design and marketing to finance and HR to production and operating machinery. Manufacturing can be anything you want it to be and there are huge opportunities for people right here and now.”
Mike Rimmer, operations director at Morley-based Brandon Medical, an award-winning medical technology company, says: “I am really proud that we are taking part in the Festival as this industry needs young people to pick up the next state of the art developments in manufacturing techniques.
“We’re all set to open our doors to schools and young people in a bid to get the message out there that manufacturing has changed. It is a very clean, tidy, tech driven industry and we are crying out for young people to come and start their careers with us. I started out my working life as an apprentice and really understand the value that such an opportunity brings. People can try out working in all areas of the business from manufacturing to finance and get a great grounding to help them progress their careers.
“Leeds is home to the biggest manufacturing centre outside of London and Birmingham and it is a fabulous place to get a job in the industry.”
Tracey Dawson, MD at Daletech – a niche manufacturing firm specialising in low volume, high quality electronics based in Pudsey, is also involved and backing calls for more to be done to encourage young people to get into the region’s sector.
Dawson says: “We all need to do more to develop ‘fresh talent’ and ensure the manufacturing industry’s sustainability through initiatives such as apprenticeships which are a really good way of getting young people in. We want people who can grow with the business, who we can upskill. It’s about attitude – if they’ve got that, we can teach everything else. As a company, we’re really pleased to be part of the Festival so we can play a part in getting the message out there about what a great industry manufacturing is to work in.”
MPM, a manufacturer of high quality fibreglass based in Bramley and Sound Leisure, which has 100 staff who manufacture and distribute jukeboxes and coin-op equipment across the globe from their site on Sandleas Way, are also heavily involved.
The Leeds Manufacturing Alliance hopes more manufacturers in Leeds will get involved in the Festival and are urging more to come forward and help inspire our next generation. It is also hoped that the Leeds Manufacturing Festival will become an annual event which will help towards fundamentally changing perceptions about the sector.
To find out more about the Leeds Manufacturing Festival or to sign up and get involved visit leedsmanufacturingfestival.co.uk.