Young people from the Sheffield region attended the Get up to Speed with Engineering and Manufacturing event, part of the Global Manufacturing Festival, yesterday.
Sponsored by Tata Steel and organised by Business and Education South Yorkshire, the event aimed to raise interest in engineering careers among young people. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was among the speakers at Ekspan’s Blue Shed.
“As we pick our economy out of the ashes of the financial crisis, we need to ask ourselves: what do we want the new economy to look like?” he said. “How can we make it better, greener, stronger? What are our true strengths? Manufacturing is absolutely central to the answer.
“The UK already has many manufacturing success stories. But a great deal of potential remains untapped. For too long we failed to fully capitalise on our historic talent for building and making things. Now is the moment to rediscover Britain’s capacity for invention and design,” he added.
The event was an occasion to meet some of the ‘fastest’ people on earth and see their vehicles, from racing driver Russ Danzey to record breaker and entrepreneur Richard Noble OBE (one of the men behind Bloodhound, the land speed record car) and Nicola Minichiello, Women’s World Bobsleigh Champion.
Showing young people how important engineering and technology were to develop these sensational vehicles, organisers hoped to be able to inspire the next generation of ‘speed sensations’.
Jackie Freeborn, chief executive of Business and Education South Yorkshire, commented: “Businesses are coming together today to celebrate engineering and manufacturing and to get young people interested in pursuing a career in these sectors. We have fantastic companies here, and they are desperate to recruit the next generation of engineers. We are trying to make young people excited with speed and cars, so that hey can feel and taste how great engineering is. At the same time, we have lots of companies here that can talk to them about apprenticeships and careers. We are absolutely amazed by how many people turned up: this shows there is great interest we have to tap into and nurture.”
During his speech, Richard Noble expressed concerns over the diminishing number of young people choosing manufacturing and engineering as a career choice and hence a diminishing skills base. “In 20 years, 60% of the aerospace workforce will have gone. We have to do something about it,” he said.