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Manufacturing Festival event will update employers on benefits of apprentices and trainees

Suzanna Hindle

The benefits of apprenticeships and traineeships, along with the wide range of financial and practical support available to help manufacturing employers recruit and train more young people, will be explored at the next event organised by Leeds Manufacturing Festival, the initiative set up to showcase careers in manufacturing and engineering in the city.

Speakers at the ‘Making apprenticeships work for your business’ breakfast event in Leeds on 15 May, will include Leeds manufacturing bosses currently running apprenticeship programmes, as well as the city council’s head of employment access and growth, Julia Massey, who will set out the financial and practical support that is on offer for businesses taking on apprentices.

Leeds City College will also be involved in the event to explain the role of the college’s traineeship programme. The scheme helps young people who do not have the necessary grades, to prepare for apprenticeships and work with quality work experience, education and training, focusing on employability skills as well as English and maths.

Leeds Manufacturing Festival organiser and director of Leeds printing products manufacturer Agfa Graphics, Graham Cooper, said: “Since the Government’s apprenticeship levy was introduced in 2017, UK employers have actually reduced the number of apprenticeship starts and many are missing out on a tremendous opportunity. Numerous employers are also unaware of the existence of traineeships as an excellent precursor to apprenticeships, for young people who do not have the grades to start an apprenticeship.

“The 15 May event will guide employers through the maze of information and outline the tremendous benefits to manufacturing businesses of employing young people in apprenticeship roles, which is what the Leeds Manufacturing Festival is all about.”

The event will also hear from young people currently involved in manufacturing and engineering apprenticeship programmes, and there will be a question and answer session chaired by festival organisers.

Paul Stead, head of sales and marketing at Leeds-based process control systems and switchgear engineering firm Saftronics, who is speaking at the event, said: “As an employer there have been huge benefits for Saftronics in taking on apprentices and these young people play an important role in enabling us to drive innovation and maintain our leading edge in our industry.”

He added: “Several members of the Saftronics management team actually started out in the business as apprentices. Our apprenticeship programme currently has four young people on board and we will be recruiting another four this year.”

The ‘Making apprenticeships work for your business’ event takes place at MPM in Leeds from 8am-10am on 15 May, with a factory tour of the MPM glass reinforced plastic moulds production site available afterwards. For more information and to book a place, go to leedsmanufacturingfestival.co.uk/events

Leeds Manufacturing Festival is sponsored by RSM, Womble Bond Dickinson, The Works Recruitment and Leeds City College.

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