Leeds’ manufacturing and engineering sector has celebrated the achievements of some of its brightest young stars with an awards ceremony that rewarded and recognised inspiring and talented young people working within the industry.
Organised by the Leeds Manufacturing Festival, which aims to highlight the range of diverse career opportunities on offer in manufacturing, the Next Gen Awards, hosted by jukebox manufacturer Sound Leisure, saw trophies presented in the categories ‘Apprentice Of The Year’, ‘Rising Star’ and ‘Future Manufacturing Leader’.
Apprentice engineering technician and machinist, Louis Audain, scooped the Apprentice Of The Year Award, sponsored by Leeds City College. Louis impressed his employers, operating theatre and intensive care unit equipment manufacturer Brandon Medical, with his “mature attitude and tenacity”, which have led him to become a role model to other young people. “Louis shows a never-wavering commitment to his personal development through his sheer drive to succeed,” said Brandon Medical’s Ingrid Law.
Joint winners of the Rising Star Award, sponsored by E3 Recruitment, were Eleanor McGuire of specialist chemicals business Sika UK and Corin Townsend, a production technician at fluid engineering firm Sulzer Pumps.
Eleanor’s role at Sika involves mixing batches of silicone in a highly precise process which demands huge attention to detail. Eleanor’s manager described her as “enthusiastic, conscientious and motivated” and as “an inspiration to others, with her work ethic and willingness to help and assist whenever she can”.
When Corin’s four year apprenticeship ended, his impressive work ethic and attitude led to him being offered a position as a production technician at Sulzer Pumps, a role which he is now leaving to become a field service technician in the firm’s Australia team. Alice McEvoy at Sulzer Pumps described Corin as “a credit to Sulzer”.
The prestigious accolade of Future Manufacturing Leader, sponsored by Saffery Champness, was awarded to Adam Benn, a quality, health, safety and environment (QHSE) manager for engineering firm LBBC Beechwood. Adam joined the business in 2017 as an apprentice-trained fabricator and rapidly proved his leadership potential, earning the respect of colleagues and making significant improvements to the business. “Adam truly deserves this award – in recognition of his outstanding achievements and contribution to changing culture and performance through employee engagement,” said his manager Andrew Quayle.
Tracey Dawson, chair of the Leeds Manufacturing Festival, and manging director Daletech Electronics, said: “Those of us who work in manufacturing here in Leeds know that it is a hotbed of creativity and innovation and it is fantastic to see the next generation of young people who are stepping forward to make our industry stronger and more resilient as we meet the challenges and opportunities of the future.
“The stand-out feature of this year’s festival has been the way younger employees have stepped forward, acting as ambassadors for the sector and as role models for other young people considering a career in manufacturing.
“As judges we have been so impressed with the award winners and with all the young people who were nominated; they are a credit to themselves, their families and their organisations who have enabled their talent to flourish. Manufacturing really is a special place to work and these awards are testament to the opportunities on offer for young people with the right skills and attitude.”
The Leeds Manufacturing Festival is supported by sponsors Leeds City College, specialist recruiter for the manufacturing and engineering sectors E3 Recruitment and accountancy firm Saffery Champness. It is organised by the Leeds Manufacturing Alliance and supported by Leeds City Council, Leeds City Region LEP, Leeds Chamber and the Ahead Partnership.